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Health and Aged Care

Australian Government extends emergency period for COVID-19

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Australian Government extends emergency period for COVID-19

The Australian Government will be extending the human biosecurity emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 for a further three months due to the rise of COVID-19 cases across the country. 

The emergency period, which was put into place on 18 March 2020, will continue until 17 December 2021 in order to continue protecting Australians throughout the pandemic. 

The extension was declared by the Governor-General today after being informed by specialist medical and epidemiological advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer. 

The AHPPC has advised the Governor-General that the international COVID-19 situation continues to pose an unacceptable risk to public health. As such, the extension of the emergency period was considered to be the appropriate response to that risk. 

The human biosecurity emergency declaration under the Biosecurity Act 2015 ensures that the Government has the power to take any necessary measures to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. This extends the four existing emergency determinations including: 

  • mandatory pre-departure testing and mask-wearing for international flights;
  • restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory;
  • restrictions on outbound international travel for Australians; and
  • restrictions on the trade of retail outlets at international airports.

These measures that have been put in place under the Biosecurity Act 2015 can be amended or repealed at any time. 

The Government is committed to minimising community transmission as part of the four-phase National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID Response.

Hence, it is important the emergency measures remain in place to continue combating COVID-19. 

These measures will be reviewed regularly in order to take into account the latest medical advice.

The Government will also consult the States and Territories, as well as the maritime industry, on options for the staged resumption of cruising once it is safe to do so. 

SOURCE: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH MEDIA RELEASE

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