Coronavirus Outbreak

Coronavirus Outbreak

Updated: 17 February 2020

Your health and wellbeing while travelling is important to us, so our priority is to ensure you are kept up-to-date on the latest information regarding the current novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

The Australian Government’s Smartraveller website has issued new advice on the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Overview:

  • The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a flu-like virus. Like the flu, it can have a significant impact on people who contract it, particularly those who are old/fragile or have a compromised immune system (such as newborns and infants).
  • The global death toll is currently over 1,000 with more than 43,000 cases confirmed. Total recovered cases are 4,340.
  • This new type of coronavirus was initially linked to a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan City, in China’s Hubei Province. 
  • The majority of reported cases are in the Wuhan region, however, there are also cases that have been identified in parts of Asia, the US and Australia.
  • A majority of the deaths have occurred where people were previously unwell, frail or suffering from pre-existing illnesses.
  • Following advice from the World Health Organization, parts of China have been placed in lockdown. Nearly 60 million people have been affected by partial or full lockdowns in Chinese cities as the country's government steps up its response.  
  • Since Thursday 23 January all inbound and outbound rail, long-distance bus, air, and ferry travel from Wuhan has been prohibited indefinitely. 
  • The impact of the coronavirus is not limited to Hubei province - authorities have also shut major tourist sites including the Forbidden City in Beijing and a section of the Great Wall. The Disneyland Resorts in both Shanghai and Hong Kong have been closed temporarily.

Smartraveller's current advice level is to reconsider your need to travel to China, and do not travel to Hubei Province. 

Impact to Travel

  • Australia has upgraded its travel advice in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak to include all of mainland China to level four, "do not travel", while asking those who have returned from the country to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • 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
  • Limited exemptions also exist for airline and maritime crew, where they have taken appropriate precautionary measures.
  • These enhanced public safety measures will apply to those seeking to enter Australia as well as those seeking to transit through Australia en route to another country. Please read the latest information on this announcement here. 
  • 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.
  • Air New Zealand has also issued a statement over the weekend regarding its China services, saying it will suspend its Auckland-Shanghai with immediate effect, until 29 March 2020. Flight NZ288 service (Shanghai-Auckland) departing Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 1410 local time on Sunday 2 February is the airline’s final service until 29 March.
  • 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. 

Pacific Islands Update

  • 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. 
  • Papua New Guinea’s Ministry for Immigration and Border Security has issued a statement outlining the country’s Refusal of Entry for Travellers from Asian Ports, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and the World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. All nationalities in Wuhan and Hubei Province will be refused entry to PNG until further notice. Anyone who has been in any part of China in the 14 days prior to the statement date of 30 January 2020 will be refused entry until they have been “medically cleared by a reputable clinic and hospital-based on WHO standards.”
  • 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.
  • Fiji has said it is not currently imposing any travel bans or “implementing unnecessary restrictions to international travel”.

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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