Coronavirus Latest News

CORONAVIRUS - LATEST NEWS

We understand that this is a stressful time for our customers. Our first priority is to ensure that all Australians overseas currently are given priority for returning home. We are working closely with our suppliers to ensure that customer travel plans are rerouted, rebooked or offered a travel credit for a future date where possible.

If you are currently travelling and being impacted by travel restrictions, or you are due to travel, and have booked with Flight Centre Business Travel, please contact your Travel Manager by phone or email.

If your situation is urgent and you are due to travel within 24 hours, please contact the Emergency Assist Team:

  • Inside Australia: 1300 050 560
  • Overseas: +61 7 3199 6898, or
  • Email: fcbtafterhours@flightcentre.com.au

To help you make an informed decision about the safety and wellbeing of your travellers during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak we have prepared the following information. It is your responsibility to ensure your travellers comply with any government travel restrictions.

The Australian Government’s Smartraveller and Department of Health websites are issuing new advice regularly as the situation unfolds.

Impact to Travel

 

Wednesday 25 March

  • Virgin Australia Group has extended its domestic capacity reduction to 90%, including suspension of Tigerair Australia domestic services, effective immediately. More info.

Tuesday 24 March

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has just announced a total ban on international travel. Exceptions will be made for aid workers and for compassionate, employment and other essential travel.
  • QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced all borders in Queensland would be closed from midnight on Wednesday 25 March 2020. Queensland will be closed to visitors and holiday makers, with police stationed at airports and permits issued to workers needing to cross the border.
  • WA The Western Australian Government will implement new restrictions and arrival requirements to travel to Western Australia from other Australian States and Territories - by road, rail, air and sea. Unless exempted, arrivals from interstate will be ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Virgin Australia Lounges and The Club are temporarily suspended with immediate effect due to Covid-19 Govt regulations. More info.
  • Emirates and Etihad have both announced the temporary global suspension of all passenger flights, in accordance with a Government directive which will see both carriers effectively grounded from 23:59 UAE local time on 25 March 2020. The suspension of flights will last for an initial 14 days, subject to further directives by the relevant authorities. However cargo and emergency evacuation flights are exempt and will continue.

Monday 23 March

  • QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that all arrivals to Queensland, from overseas and interstate, will have to self-isolate for 14 days from midnight on Wednesday. More to come. 

Sunday 22 March

  • WA Premier Mark McGowan has announced that borders to WA will close at 1.30pm on Tuesday 24 March. People who arrived by car could be forced to self-isolate at the border town of Eucla, near the WA-South Australian border or at Kununurra, near the border of WA and the Northern Territory. Exemptions for mine workers - considered essential service workers - are being worked out.
  • Premier Daniel Andrews has announced Victoria will implement a shutdown of all non-essential activity over the next 48 hours. School holidays will be brought forward, starting Tuesday 24 March. Under the shutdown Victorians will still be able to go to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy and other essential stores, like petrol stations and convenience stores. Freight, logistics and home delivery are also considered essential and will remain open.
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejilian has announced the state will move to enforce major lockdowns of non-essential services. This will take place over the next 48 hours. Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery will be among the many services that will remain open. 
  • South Australia Premier Steven Marshall has announced it will shut its borders on Tuesday 24 March. The closures will take effect from 4pm Tuesday 24 March. All people who enter the state will be forced into 14-day isolation or face penalties, with SA Police staffing 12 border patrol stations. 
  • Emirates has announced the suspension of flights to more than 110 destinations across the globe, including MelbourneAdelaideBrisbane and New Zealand flights. More info.
  • The Australian Prime Minister and the national cabinet decided overnight to recommend against travel unless it was on compassionate grounds, work-related or tied to essential supplies. All non-essential travel should now be cancelled. 
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejilian has announced the state will move to enforce major lockdowns of non-essential services. This will take place over the next 48 hours. Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery will be among the many services that will remain open. 
  • South Australia Premier Steven Marshall has announced it will shut its borders on Tuesday 24 March. The closures will take effect from 4pm Tuesday 24 March. All people who enter the state will be forced into 14-day isolation or face penalties, with SA Police staffing 12 border patrol stations. 
  • Emirates has announced the suspension of flights to more than 110 destinations across the globe, including MelbourneAdelaideBrisbane and New Zealand flights. More info.
  • The Australian Prime Minister and the national cabinet decided overnight to recommend against travel unless it was on compassionate grounds, work-related or tied to essential supplies. All non-essential travel should now be cancelled. 

Saturday 21 March

  • The Northern Territory will require anyone arriving by air, sea or road after 4pm on Tuesday 24 March 2020 to quarantine themselves for 14-days. People who leave the Territory’s 76 remote communities will also be required to self-isolate for 14-days before returning. The new rules will be enforced by law.

Thursday 19 March

  • The Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison has announced a travel ban for all non-residents coming to Australia. All Australian citizens, residents and direct family members will still be able to enter the country, but will have to self-isolate. The ban commences 9pm Friday 20 March 2020.
  • The New Zealand government has raised its official travel advice to the highest level: do not travel anywhere overseas.
  • Virgin Australia will be gifting Status Credits to all their current Silver, Gold, and Platinum Velocity Frequent Flyer members to help maintain their membership. If you’re receiving the Status Credit gift, Virgin Australia will send you a separate email with all the details in the next 2 weeks. You don’t need to do anything at this time as they will take care of all the arrangements. Not only that, they will also be extending and preserving the current Status of all Velocity Frequent Flyer Silver, Gold and Platinum members for a further 12 months.
  • To provide peace of mind when it comes to your Frequent Flyer status, Qantas will ensure that eligible Platinum One, Platinum, Gold and Silver Qantas Frequent Flyer members with a membership year anniversary date between March 2020 and February 2021 will automatically retain their current status, even if you have not already retained it in your own right. More info
  • Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein on Thursday declared a state of emergency and announced the new travel restrictions, the toughest of any state in Australia. Tasmania will close its borders to all non-essential travellers in a drastic measure to curb the spread of coronavirus. From midnight on Friday, only essential travellers will be allowed into Tasmania without going into quarantine. Any non-essential traveller into Tasmania will be required to go into a period of 14 days of quarantine.
  • The Qantas Group has announced the following changes: All regularly scheduled Qantas and Jetstar international flights from Australia will be suspended from end March until at least end May 2020. Some flights may continue in order to maintain key links, based on ongoing discussions with the Federal Government.Jetstar Asia (Singapore) will suspend all flights from 23 March to at least 15 April 2020. Jetstar Japan has suspended international flights and cut domestic flying. Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) has suspended international flights and will significantly cut domestic flying. 

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Tuesday 17 March 2020

  • Canada has announced on Tuesday 17 March that it is barring entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or Americans. There will be exceptions for air crew, diplomats, immediate family members of citizens and, "at this time," U.S. citizens.
  • Qantas and Jetstar have announced they are making further cuts to domestic and international flying schedules. Total group capacity will be cut by around 90% until at least the end of May, with domestic cuts of around 60% until the end of May. 

Sunday 15 March 2020

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that all overseas travellers entering the country from midnight tonight (Sunday 15 March) will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Cruise ships from foreign ports will also be banned for at least 30 days.
  • The USA has announced that a travel ban imposed on European nations would be extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland starting midnight Monday 16 March 2020. 
  • Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has confirmed a 15-day nationwide lockdown as part of state of emergency measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Saturday 14 March 2020

  • NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced today that all travellers will have to self-isolate on their arrival to New Zealand.
    Effective from midnight Sunday 15 March 2020, all travellers, except those coming from the Pacific Islands, will have to self-isolate for 14 days on their arrival to New Zealand. This includes New Zealanders. The restrictions will be reviewed in 16 days and there will be more advice for self-isolation next week. 
  • Singapore has put in place additional precautionary measures for some travellers entering Singapore. From 15 March 2020, 2359 hours, all new visitors with recent travel history to France, Germany, Italy and Spain within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into or transit through Singapore. For Singapore residents and long-term pass holders with recent travel history to France, Germany, Italy and Spain within the last 14 days, they will be issued a Stay-Home Notice (SHN). Under the SHN, they will have to remain in their place of residence at all times for a 14-day period after returning to Singapore.

Previous

  • National governments and major airlines in Europe continue to announce flight route suspensions and flight cancellations in response to widespread travel restrictions and a sharp decline in demand as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Ryanair (FR), British Airways (BA), Alitalia (AZ) and Lufthansa (LH) have announced the most severe disruptions, with dozens of routes suspended and thousands of flights cancelled as of March 12. Additionally, numerous major airlines have suspended all but emergency evacuation flights to and from Italy after the Italian government imposed a quarantine lockdown on the entire country March 9.
  • India has announced that all visas, barring a select few categories, will be suspended for a month in order to halt the spread of Covid-19. Visa free travel afforded to overseas citizens of the country has also been suspended until 15 April. The advisory says that only diplomatic, official, employment and project visas will be exempt from the current restrictions, which will be reviewed again in a month.
  • Australia has now placed Italy on a full travel ban effective as of 6.00pm 11 March 2020. Australian citizens and permanent residents travelling from those countries will be able to enter Australia, but need to isolate themselves for a fortnight. Foreign nationals who have been in Italy, mainland China, Iran and South Korea will not be allowed into Australia for 14 days from the time they left those countries.
  • SmartTraveller has changed its advice level for seven countries: China, Iran, South Korea’s Daegu Province and Italy's Lombardy province and other northern regions to ‘do not travel’. South Korea (rest of country), and Italy (rest of country) to 'Reconsider your need to travel'. Hong Kong, Japan and Mongolia to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’.
  • The Australian Government has announced that as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving from any part of mainland China, regardless of nationality, will be subject to enhanced border control measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the Australian community.
  • Australia will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited mainland China from 1 February, with the exception of:
    • Australian citizens
    • permanent residents
    • immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependents and legal guardians
  • Australia has now added South Korea to the travel ban list with a number of restrictions for travellers from Italy.
    • Foreign nationals who have been in mainland China, Iran and South Korea are not allowed into Australia for 14 days from the time they left those countries.
    • Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to enter Australia, but need to isolate themselves for a fortnight.
    • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said travellers from Italy would face "advanced screening measures", which means they will be asked more questions at check-in and have their temperatures checked on arrival in Australia.
    • The Government has also upgraded its travel advice to South Korea and is now urging Australians to reconsider their need to travel to the country.
    • It has offered stricter travel advice for Daegu, a hotspot for coronavirus in South Korea, and urged Australians to not travel there.
  • Qantas has announced it's suspended their two direct services between mainland China and Australia (Sydney-Beijing and Sydney-Shanghai) from 9 February until 29 March 2020, due to the entry restrictions imposed by countries including Singapore and the United States.
  • The Solomon Islands has issued a statement stating that any person who has travelled from or transited through China at any time during the 14 days immediately before the day on which the person arrives in the Solomon Islands will not be permitted to enter the country. Further, travellers originating from affected Countries and regions travelling through Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Nauru will also not be permitted to enter Solomon Islands unless such person is able to provide evidence that they have not travelled from or transited through any affected country at any time during the 14 days immediately before the day on which the person arrives in the Solomon Islands.
  • Samoa has also announced travel restrictions - if you’re travelling from a country specified by the Samoan authorities, including Australia, you will require medical clearance at least 3 days prior to travel to Samoa.
  • Singapore has announced that all new visitors who have travelled to Mainland China (not including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) within the last 14 days, will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore. This will include travellers who transit in Mainland China to Singapore regardless of the duration and whether they had cleared immigration in China. More information on this announcement can be accessed here.
  • A travel ban for foreign nationals coming from Iran to Australia has now been implemented, effective immediately, following a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the Middle East nation.

For the latest information on the Coronavirus please visit the Smartraveller website and the Australian Government Department of Health.

We’re here to support you

Due to the size of this outbreak, information is moving at a fast pace. We are regularly updating our website as information comes to hand, and we will continue to communicate with you via these important updates.

We encourage you to contact your Travel Manager with any questions you may have, and we have included a list below where you can get further information.

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