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19 March, 2020

Australia blocks arrival of all non-residents in travel ban

By Phil Brandel

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has just announced blocking the arrival of all non-residents in an expanded coronavirus travel ban.

It applies to all non-citizens and non-residents.

Australians will still be able to return from overseas but they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Government had previously banned foreign nationals from coming to Australia from China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.

New Zealand had already announced plans to close its borders to foreign nationals from midnight tonight.

Mr Morrison said he had consulted New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about Australia's new travel ban prior to announcing it.

"The New Zealand arrangement, in the same way as it has in the past, doesn't apply to Australians living in New Zealand as New Zealand residents," he said.

The Prime Minister said the earlier travel bans had already reduced travel to Australia to one-third of normal levels.

But he said it was crucial to go further in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"About 80 per cent of the cases we have in Australia are either the results of someone who has contracted the virus overseas or someone who has had direct contact with someone who has returned from overseas," Mr Morrison said.

"So, the overwhelming proportion of [coronavirus] cases in Australia have been imported.

"Measures we have put in place have obviously put an impact on that and this is a further measure now that can be further enhanced."

"Those Australians who are overseas, we have been encouraging them to return to Australia," he said.

"Those in remote parts of the world, that can prove challenging but for those in other places, it is our intention to ensure we can maintain flights to enable them to come home as soon as possible."

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