In the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, Australia had been a success story. The number of Australians who had the virus had been kept low (there were several days in May where new cases were in the single digits) and as recently as June, there was talk of tourism plans that would lead to international travel. They had not only “flattened the curve,” but, as a South Australia biostatistics professor said, “crushed it.”
But by July, all that started to change. More and more Australians were spreading the virus, to the point that Australia vastly decreased the number of nationals who could return to the country. Plans for international tourism, of course, went by the wayside; not even travel bubbles were an option.
It’s been almost two months since then and things are, well, not good. Most states have closed their borders to most, if not all other states. Here’s a brief update that shows how they’re doing things Down Under:
ACT is home to Australia’s capital city of Canberra.
Those who have been in Victoria during the past 14 days are banned from entering the ACT, except for ACT residents and those who have an exemption. Those who arrive must then quarantine at home if possible, or in a hotel if not.
As per the state government, ACT residents should not travel to Victoria or Greater Sydney. The border is otherwise open.
NSW is open to travel to/from all states except Victoria.
This territory is currently open to most of the rest of Australia, except for designated hot spots, such as Greater Sydney and Melbourne.
The state is closed to all of Victoria, NSW and the ACT
Those traveling from Victoria, including South Australian residents, can’t return to South Australia at this time (some essential travelers are exempt). Travelers from ACT and NSW, other than essential travelers, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after entering SA and submit 2 COVID-19 tests. Residents and non-residents from NT, Queensland, Tasmania and WA can enter without restriction.
Tasmania has essentially closed itself off from the rest of the country.
Victoria is not doing well. They’re in a “stage 3” lockdown, except for Melbourne, which is in “stage 4” (that includes nightly curfews). Every other state in Australia has a travel ban for Victoria.
Western Australia has closed its borders to all other states.
What about international travel?
Obviously, international travel to (or from) Australia is not an option at this time, and that probably will continue into 2021.
According to the Australian government’s website, “Australia’s borders are closed. Only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia” (and even then, they’re taking significantly less of them). Those who do have permission to travel to Australia will need to report to biosecurity officers, and then quarantine for 14 days, either at home or in a hotel. You may be tested for COVID-19 in the first 48 hours and then between days 10 to 12 of quarantine. If you refuse testing, you may have to quarantine for a longer period.
Of course, when a vaccine becomes commonly available, that will be a game changer, as it will for everywhere else in the world. But until then, the closest most of us will get to Australia remains what we can see on TV and the internet.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary