National Cabinet has agreed to a raft of new measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, particularly infectious overseas strains, into the Australian community.
Travellers to Australia must return a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure to Australia.
The Prime Minister said there will be exemptions in extenuating circumstances.
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“This could include for seasonal workers from amber-risk countries where there is limited access to testing, with mitigation of testing on arrival in Australia,” Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
Passengers on all domestic and international flights will have to wear masks, excluding children under the age of 12.
“Individuals – including travellers and staff – must undertake measures for infection prevention and control for international travel,” Mr Morrison said.
“That includes passengers to wear masks throughout international flights, crew to wear masks and other personal protective equipment where appropriate.”
International air crew must undergo a COVID-19 test in Australia every seven days or on arrival.
Those working in quarantine hotels across the country will also have to undergo daily COVID-19 testing.
A push from Queensland to shut the border to the United Kingdom, where the highly infectious strain is coming from, was rejected by the National Cabinet.
“The suggestion that Australia might be able to close off every single flight that comes to Australia was considered by AHPPC and was not recommended to the National Cabinet,” the Prime Minister said.
“Australia needs to continue to function.”
However, the caps on international arrivals into New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland will be reduced by 50 per cent.
NSW will now have a weekly cap of 1,505. Western Australia will allow 521 and Queensland will allow 500 international arrivals into the state.
South Australia and Victoria will continue their current capacity, which is already reduced.
The Prime Minister also backed Queensland’s decision to place Greater Brisbane into lockdown for three days after a quarantine hotel worker tested positive to the highly infectious UK strain of the virus.
Greater Brisbane has also been declared a “coronavirus hotspot” at the Commonwealth level.
“It is a very wise decision by the Queensland government, by Premier Palaszczuk, to put in place the precautions she has over the next few days,” Mr Morrison said.
“It moves so quickly – far more quickly than previous strains of the virus – and that means we need to give our contact tracers that head start.
“I think we’re going to learn a lot in the next three to five days.
“The whole world is trying to understand how this new strain works and we’ve got a very live example in Brisbane, one of our major cities.”