COVID-19 - Rolling Updates

Coronavirus Update

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.

To go back to our main COVID-19 Hub please click here.

Friday 10 July

  • To limit the risk to community and strain on the hotel quarantine process the Australian Government will limit the number of international arrivals into Australia to 4,000 per day from Monday 13 July 2020. The Government has also indicated that passengers arriving into Australia will be responsible for the cost of their hotel quarantine.
  • PM Scott Morrison has announced that Australia is cancelling its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, citing China’s national security law as ‘a fundamental change of circumstances’. Smartraveller warns that the new national security legislation for Hong Kong could be interpreted broadly and, under such a law, travellers could be deported or face possible transfer to mainland China for prosecution under mainland law for breaking a law in Hong Kong that they were not aware of, and without intention. 

Thursday 9 July

  • Queensland will completely close its borders to Victorians from midday on Friday 10 July 2020 and require anyone who enters to sign a border pass agreeing to mandatory testing if they develop symptoms within 14 days. More info.

Tuesday 7 July

  • The Victorian Government has announced that metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions from 11.59pm on Wednesday 8 July 2020. More info.

Monday 6 July 

  • The New South Wales and Victoria border will close at 11:59pm on Tuesday 7th July, due to the second spike in Victorian COVID-19 cases. A permit system will be put in place for people who need to travel into NSW.

Wednesday 1 July

  • International flights to Melbourne will be diverted from 1-15 July as the state ramps up quarantine measures in response to COVID-19. More to come.

Tuesday 30 June

  • The Queensland Premier has announced that the state will reopen its borders to residents of all of Australia’s states and territories with the exception of Victoria, on 10 July 2020. More to come.
  • Qantas has announced it will reopen a number of its domestic and regional lounges around the country following the easing of travel and venue capacity restrictions. More info.

Monday 22 June 

  • The Victorian COVID-19 case spike has lead to travel warnings from other States. The New South Wales Government has warned against anyone travelling to a Victorian hotspot while the Queensland Government declares anyone who has travelled to or lived in a Victorian hotspot must self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • The Australian Government has endorsed a COVID-Safe Domestic Passenger Journey Protocol. The health guidelines provide clear and consistent advice regarding risk-minimisation principles and processes in domestic airports and on aircraft for domestic passenger travel. The protocol is informed by health advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, as well as guidance from international aviation authorities. More info.

Friday 19 June

  • South Australia is throwing open its borders to people coming from Queensland. Premier Steven Marshall says the change will take effect from midnight (19 June 2020) and means anyone coming from that state will no longer be required to spend 14 days in quarantine.

Thursday 18 June

  • Qantas has reportedly suspended all international flights until at least 24 October, with the exception of some services to New Zealand. More to come.

Tuesday 16 June

  • The South Australian Government will reopen the state's borders to Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory from midnight (16 June) as it further accelerates the easing of coronavirus restrictions. The change means travellers from those jurisdictions will no longer need to isolate themselves for 14 days when they arrive in South Australia.

Friday 12 June

  • The Virgin Australia Group will increase domestic flying and introduce new safety and wellbeing measures as state travel restrictions begin to ease and more travellers return to the skies. The additional services will see Virgin Australia double current capacity by early July, adding approximately 30,000 seats across 320 flights per week to its domestic schedule. Virgin Australia will also introduce a comprehensive new set of safety and wellbeing measures including pre-departure eligibility and health screening, contactless check-in, more frequent cleaning onboard and at the airport, and expanded social distancing measures. More info.

Tuesday 9 June

  • Qantas and Virgin Australia have regrounded their remaining international passenger operations after government funding for the handful of overseas routes they were flying came to an end. The Morrison government says it is reviewing whether it needs to fund further flights to get Australians home from abroad as some overseas airlines resume flying here. More to come.

Thursday 4 June

  • Qantas is preparing to scale up its domestic flying from its current 5 per cent of pre-pandemic levels to 40 per cent by the end of July, pending the reopening of state borders. More info.

Friday 29 May

  • Rex has announced that from 1 June 2020, all passengers flying across the Rex network will be required to wear a face mask. This will help provide an extra layer of protection against the spread of COVID-19 as well as for the safety and wellbeing of all passengers and staff. More info.

Wednesday 27 May

  • Virgin Australia has announced policy changes that will impact cancellations and refunds. We are in the process of contacting impacted customers and will provide further updates as soon as possible.

Tuesday 26 May

  • Hertz Global Holdings (the U.S. based entity) has voluntarily filed for reorganisation under Chapter 11 in the United States legal process. Hertz’s principal international operating regions, including Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and Hertz’s franchised locations, are not included in these Chapter 11 proceedings and will continue to operate as they did before. This includes subsidiaries Dollar, Thrifty, Firefly, Hertz Car Sales, and Donlen. Day-to-day operations continue, and all their reservations, promotional offers, vouchers, loyalty and customer programs continue to operate.

Friday 22 May

  • Virgin Australia will add new flights and increase frequencies under a revised agreement with the Federal Government to connect essential travellers and critical freight with towns and cities across Australia. The changes, which take its underwritten schedule from 64 to 76 return services per week, will bring Adelaide and Perth closer together with a new three-times weekly return service. Guests travelling between Brisbane and Melbourne, Brisbane-Mackay and Brisbane-Cairns will also be given more flexibility to travel with increased frequencies. More info.

Tuesday 19 May

  • Qantas and Jetstar will roll out a series of wellbeing improvements to give peace-of-mind in preparation for domestic travel restrictions easing. The ‘Fly Well’ program will be rolled out from 12 June. More info.

Monday 18 May

  • Emirates has announced it's resuming passenger flights to 9 destinations, including connections between UK and Australia. More info.

Tuesday 12 May

  • Etihad Airways is resuming flights between Melbourne and London via its Abu Dhabi hub from this Friday. More info.
  • Essential travellers entering South Australia are required to keep records of close contacts for a 14 day period from the date of their arrival in SA. More info.

Friday 8 May

  • Virgin Australia and its administrators have announced that the airline has stopped issuing refunds and flight credits to customers who cancel trips. Corporate Traveller can confirm that we've contacted Virgin Australia and this change does not apply to our policy we have with the airline. This announcement relates only to customers who booked directly with the airline. Customers who have booked flights through Corporate Traveller will still be issued credits or refunds for cancelled flights, as per our current policy with Virgin Australia. 

Tuesday 5 May

  • Qantas and Jetstar will now extend existing domestic and Trans-Tasman flight cancellations beyond end-May through to the end of June 2020. International flight cancellations will be extended through to end-July 2020. More info.

Monday 27 April

  • The Australian Government has released the COVIDSafe app for download. More info.

Tuesday 21 April

  • Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration. They have released a statement to the ASX here.

Monday 20 April

  • There are reports that Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration. We are awaiting an official update from the airline, and more information will be posted here. 
  • To help travel managers stay up-to-date on current hotel closures, we've partnered with 4th Dimension to create a live list of hotels that have temporarily closed in Australia and New Zealand. You can access the map here

Friday 17 April

  • Qantas has also responded to the Federal Government's request to resume flying a minimal domestic schedule. Qantas's additional flights will roll out from today and will be fully operational by Monday 20 April. The flight routes can be viewed here. 

Thursday 16 April

  • Virgin Australia has announced it has responded to a request from the Federal Government to resume flying a minimal domestic schedule of commercial services commencing tomorrow (Friday 17 April, 2020). The schedule will operate for a period of eight weeks, until 7 June 2020, and flights will gradually go on sale from today (Thursday 16 April, 2020) through the VA website. More info.

Wednesday 15 April

  • Alliance Airlines (sold via Virgin Australia) will continue to operate a regular schedule between Brisbane, Bundaberg and Gladstone. These services currently run 6 days weekly (Mon-Fri, Sun).

Tuesday 14 April

  • Air New Zealand is extending the timeframe for its significantly reduced network by a month, with its minimal international operations to continue through to 30 June 2020. More info. 

Thursday 9 April

  • Queensland will introduce even stricter border controls from tomorrow, forcing everyone including state residents to apply for a pass before they can enter the state and sending people who have travelled through a COVID-19 hotspot into 14 days quarantine. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that from midnight Friday, Queenslanders wanting to cross back into the state, regardless of their reason for travel, would need a border pass. Those who have travelled through known hotspots for the coronavirus would also be told to quarantine themselves for two weeks. More info to come.

Sunday 5 April 

  • As of 11.59pm on Saturday, Queensland borders are closed to interstate FIFO workers. The two exemptions are critical roles, such as those responsible for worker health and safety, as well as FIFO or DIDO workers travelling from within Queensland. 

Thursday 2 April

  • WA Premier Mark McGowan has announced a hard border closure for Western Australia. The border closure comes into effect from 11.59pm on Sunday 5 April 2020. FIFO workers and their families will be allowed into WA but will need to undergo 14 days of self-isolation. There will be exemptions for health services, emergency workers, transport, freight, logistics, national and state security and judicial services. Residents will not be able to leave their Local Government area – Broome, Derby-West Kimberley, Halls Creek and Wyndham-East Kimberley – except for exempted reasons. See out State Border Restrictions summary for full details.  
  • Singapore Airlines will reinstate additional flights between Singapore and Sydney (SQ211 & SQ232), during the period of 3 April 2020 to 30 May 2020. The flights have been reinstated to further increase connectivity between the two cities to ensure essential passenger and cargo movements can continue. 
  • The Indonesian Government has announced all foreign nationals except for diplomats, humanitarian workers and those with residency permits will be barred from entering Indonesia for 14 days. 

Monday 30 March

  • The WA Government will introduce further restrictions on intrastate travel within Western Australia from 12.01am Tuesday March 31 2020. Movement through the boundaries of WA regions including; Perth and Peel, South West, Great Southern, Goldfields-Esperance, Mid-West, Gascoyne, Pilbara, Kimberley will not be permitted. 
  • Qantas Business Rewards customers will have peace of mind when it comes to your business’ Qantas Business Rewards Membership Level as Qantas will ensure that eligible Qantas Business Rewards members with a Membership Year anniversary date between March 2020 and the end of February 2021 will automatically retain their current Level. Your Qantas Business Rewards Membership Level will automatically be extended on your Membership anniversary date. 
  • The Australian Government has launched a new app and WhatsApp Channel for COVID-19. The new app and WhatsApp feature will allow people to get the latest information on the number of cases in Australia, along with news on restrictions and travel bans. To access the WhatsApp channel please click here for instructions. The apps are available for free through the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices. 

Friday 27 March 

  • With the recent changes to Australian state border controls we have prepared a summary of these restrictions and what exceptions are in place for essential services. 
  • Everyone arriving at an Australian international airport will need to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks as the government responds to the large number of cases related to returning travellers. PM Scott Morrison said “By no later than midnight tomorrow, that’s 11.59pm Saturday, states and territories will be quarantining all arrivals through airports in hotels and other accommodation facilities for the two weeks of their mandatory self-isolation, before they are able to return to their home,” he said. “If their home is in South Australia, or in Perth, or in Tasmania, and they have arrived in Melbourne. They will be quarantining in Melbourne. If it’s in Sydney, it will be in Sydney,” he said. More info to come.
  • Qatar Airways is expanding operations to Australia to help get people home. From 29 March, Qatar Airways will add an extra 48,000 seats to the market to help stranded passengers get home. More info.
  • Qantas Business Rewards has announced they are extending their current Membership Level and associated benefits for 12 months. The extension will be actioned automatically at the end of their Qantas Business Rewards Membership Year.
  • Qantas will be extending the validity of Qantas Club memberships. Details are soon to follow, but the airline expects to begin emailing Qantas Club members next week with more details. 

Thursday 26 March

  • Good news for Hilton Honors members. 2019 Status Extension: All members whose 2019 status was scheduled to be downgraded on 31 Mar 2020—whether it’s Diamond, Gold or Silver—will automatically receive an extension through 31 March 31 2021. 2020 Status Extension: Hilton Honors are extending 2020 member status through 31 March 2022. This means you will continue to enjoy all the Diamond, Gold or Silver benefits you have access to today for the next 24 months. Points Extension: Hilton Honors will pause the expiration of all Points scheduled to expire between now and 31 December 2020.

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. (last updated 25 March)

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. (last updated 24 March)
  • 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. (last updated 24 March 2020)
  • 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. (last updated 24 March)
  • Virgin Australia Lounges and The Club are temporarily suspended with immediate effect due to Covid-19 Govt regulations. More info. (last updated 24 March)
  • 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. (last updated 24 March)

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 Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane 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 Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane 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.

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