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COVID19: Stay Informed

28 March 2020

Stay informed: COVID19

**Last updated 7.30PM EDT Saturday 28 March 2020 - Please monitor this page and our social media channels for updates (Facebook, Twitter)**

Australia is currently NOT allowing the entry of people who are not citizens, permanent residents or their families.

From 11:59pm AEDT 28 March, all travellers arriving in to Australia from overseas will go into monitored quarantine in hotels or other designated facilities for 14 days, before they can go home. Self-isolation will be at your city of arrival into Australia. See https://pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-270320For information on self-isolation requirements at designated facilities, please continue to check the Home Affairs website that will be updated with further information on this measure in due course. Anyone returning to Australia will be required to complete an isolation declaration card for COVID-19. They will be required to note their contact details, where they are going to self-isolate, their passport numbers, and declare that they sign up to the self-isolation. This is enforceable by law. State and territory governments will implement strong penalty measures for those who don't comply.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic and the risk of transmission around the world is increasing.

Contents

COVID-19 – What to do when you can’t get home

Advice as per Smartraveller: We understand that it’s stressful and frightening if you can’t get home because of border closures and flight cancellations overseas.

We suggest you continue to check with local authorities and airlines about available flights out, but you may have to wait it out in that country until the border closures are lifted or other arrangements are made.

Here’s our advice for what to do if you can’t leave the country you’re in: smartraveller.gov.au/COVID-19-cant-get-home

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COVID-19 - Ban on Departure from Australia

From 25 March there is a ban on Australians travelling overseas. This is on top of Smartraveller advice to not travel overseas at this time.

The ban will help prevent travellers returning to Australia with coronavirus.
Some exemptions will apply including for:

  • citizens who usually reside overseas
  • essential travel
  • travel that is in the national interest
  • travel on compassionate or humanitarian grounds.

This ban will be managed by the Australian Border Force. For more information go to Smartraveller's COVID-19 Travel Ban page.

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Information for Australians (per Smartraveller)

From 11:59pm AEDT 28 March, all travellers arriving in to Australia from overseas will go into monitored quarantine in hotels or other designated facilities for 14 days, before they can go home. Self-isolation will be at your city of arrival into Australia. See https://pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-270320

For information on self-isolation requirements at designated facilities, please continue to check the Home Affairs website that will be updated with further information on this measure in due course. Anyone returning to Australia will be required to complete an isolation declaration card for COVID-19. They will be required to note their contact details, where they are going to self-isolate, their passport numbers, and declare that they sign up to the self-isolation. This is enforceable by law. State and territory governments will implement strong penalty measures for those who don't comply.

The Australian Government advises all Australians do not travel overseas at this time. This is the highest advice level (level 4 of 4).

If you are already overseas and wish to return to Australia, the Australian Government recommend you do so as soon as possible by commercial means.

Regardless of your destination, age or health, the advice is do not travel at this time. Updates to this travel advisory can be found on Australia's Smartraveller website.

As more countries close their borders or introduce travel restrictions, overseas travel is becoming more complex and difficult. You may not be able to return to Australia when you had planned to. Consider whether you have access to health care and support systems if you get sick while overseas. If you decide to return to Australia, do so as soon as possible. Commercial options may become less available.

If you are overseas and cannot, or do not want to, return to Australia, follow the advice of local authorities. Take care to minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus including by self-isolating. If you choose to stay, note our ability to provide consular assistance in some places may be limited due to restrictions on movement and other services.

All travellers (including Australian citizens) must isolate for a period of 14 days after they have entered Australia. If you need to transit domestically, you may complete this transit and then begin your precautionary 14 day self-isolation period. If you have a layover, you must remain in the airport or self-isolate in your accommodation for the transit period. Refer to the ‘Isolation guidance’ information sheet for further information. If you have returned from a country or region that is at higher risk for COVID-19, you may also be required to undergo enhanced health screening on arrival in Australia. For details see the Australian Border Force website.

Contact your airline, travel agent or insurance company to discuss your travel plans and options for cancelling or postponing current bookings, or to arrange commercial flights back to Australia.

All cruise ships which have sailed from a foreign port have been banned from entering Australian ports for 30 days.

All of the above advice has also been provided to Australian Government staff, who have been instructed to instead use video-conferencing and other communication technologies as much as possible. 

The Foreign Minister decided on 17 March to offer voluntary departures globally for all dependants of staff at our overseas posts, staff at high risk due to underlying health conditions and staff the head of mission considers non-essential for ongoing operations.

For more information see Smartraveller's Coronavirus (COVID-19) – information for Australian travellers page.

For urgent consular assistance contact:

  • +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas 
  • 1300 555 135 from within Australia
  • +61 421 269 080 from SMS

For non-urgent inquiries, email smartraveller@dfat.gov.au

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Embassy visitors

The Australian Embassy and Consulates-General are taking precautions to protect visitors and staff during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily such as tables, light switches, countertops, door handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Please note, in the public facing areas of our Embassy, only passport, consular and notarial services remain open, our gallery is temporarily closed, until further notice.

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Passport and consular clients

Temporary Passport Arrangements during COVID-19

Passport and Consular Services

The Australian Embassy and Consulates-General remain open to provide essential passport and consular services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wherever possible we encourage you to lodge your passport application (including renewals) via mail or follow the instructions on the Passport applications during COVID-19 page

For contact details of our offices please visit our Passport Locations page

The safety and health of our visitors and staff is a priority. For the safety of our staff and other visitors, we ask that you do not bring anyone to your appointment who is not required to attend.  If you are accompanied by friends or family members, they are welcome to wait outside our locations while you lodge your application. 

Staff may wear gloves during security screening and the exchange of documents with visitors. Visitors are being asked to use hand-sanitizer as appropriate.

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Information for travellers to Australia

From Friday 20 March 9pm AEDT (6.00am EDT) Australia will NOT allow the entry of people who are not citizens, permanent residents or their families.

Immediate family members who are not permanent residents must apply for an exemption if they wish to travel to Australia during this period. Detailed information about the exemptions is available here website.

web form is available for family members to apply for an exemption. Proof of the family relationship should be provided as part of this request. Non-family members may also use the form to apply for an exemption if they have a compelling or compassionate reason for travel.

What does this mean? If you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you and your immediate family will be able to return to Australia. You’ll still be required to self-isolate for 14 days. If you’re a foreign national visiting Australia, you’ll still be allowed to depart Australia.

All travellers (including Australian citizens) must isolate for a period of 14 days after they have entered Australia. If you need to transit domestically, you may complete this transit and then begin your precautionary 14 day self-isolation period. If you have a layover, you must remain in the airport or self-isolate in your accommodation for the transit period. Refer to the ‘Isolation guidance’ information sheet for further information. If you have returned from a country or region that is at higher risk for COVID-19, you may also be required to undergo enhanced health screening on arrival in Australia. For details see the Australian Border Force website.

For additional Australian visa information in relation to COVID-19 please refer to our Visas and Migration page.  

There are confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia. For the latest information on coronavirus cases in Australia, please refer to the Department of Health's website.

Additional travel alerts are in place for a number of countries. If you are considering travelling overseas or visiting Australia you should contact your travel agent and visit the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website for the most up-to-date advice.

Currently all Australian airports are open and, with the exception of flights to and from China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. A number of airlines have reduced or cancelled flights in response to a drop in demand for these services. We recommend checking with your airline or travel agent before booking or undertaking travel.

The Department of Home Affairs website has information on travel restrictions for visitors to Australia, including self-isolation requirements for Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents. 

Australian citizens who reside in the United States but are currently in Europe, please refer to the US Department of Homeland Security website for information on returning to the United States.

If you are a citizen of another country, you should also consult the travel advice issued by your country.

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US Visas

All enquiries about US visas and your status in country should be directed to the relevant US authorities. If you are in Australia, please contact the US Embassy in Canberra, or one of the US Consulates in SydneyPerth or Melbourne. If you are already in the United States, please contact the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on +1 800 375 5283, or the Department of State’s Visa Services on +1 202 485 7600.

For Australians in the US looking to apply online, extend or change their non-immigrant status (including E3 visa holders) please visit this link: https://www.uscis.gov/i539online

If you can’t contact USCIS and are delayed beyond your departure date (e.g. due to airline cancellations or you are unable to apply to USCIS to extend your stay because USCIS offices are closed) you should keep documentation in order to present to US authorities in future should the need arise, and seek the advice of a migration lawyer.

We would also encourage you to consult your employer or sponsor and speak with an immigration attorney to see what options may be available to you.

US Department of State: suspension of routine visa services: In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates have canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. More information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/suspension-of-routine-visa-services.html

ESTAs

All enquiries about ESTAs should be directed to the relevant US authorities. If you are travelling in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and are concerned about your status in country, contact the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on +1 800 375 5283. You can also speak with an immigration attorney to see what options may be available to you

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Operating Status and Local Information

Operating status updates for each state, including schools, restaurants, emergency services and transport are available on the state's local website. We recommend you closely monitor and register for alerts from these local authorities in your state.

Alabama | tel: Alabama COVID-19 24/7 hotline 1-888-264-2256 for testing sites and hours of operation.
Alaska | Alaska Governnor Mike Dunleavy Media Newsroom | tel: 211 or Careline: 877.266.HELP
Arizona | tel: 1-844-542-8201
Arkansas (ADH has activated a call center to answer questions from health care providers and the public about the novel coronavirus. During normal business hours (8:00am – 4:30pm), urgent and non-urgent calls: 1-800-803-7847 or email ADH.CoronaVirus@arkansas.gov. After normal business hours, urgent calls needing immediate response: 501-661-2136.
California | California Governor Gavin Newson Media Newsroom | tel: 
Colorado | tel: 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 (Colorado’s call line for general questions about COVID-19, provides answers in many languages including English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话) and more)
Connecticut | tel: 211 (the hotline is for general questions about COVID-19)
Delaware | tel: 1-866-408-1899 | email: DPHCall@delaware.gov. Individuals with hearing impairment can call 711.
District of Columbia | tel: (202) 442-5955. 

  • D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) ordered the closure of nonessential businesses effective 10pm 25 March and banned gatherings of 10 or more people after leaders in the Washington region made similar moves to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • On 20 March Bowser requested local residents stay away from traditional cherry blossom viewings at the Tidal Basin; this continues to be enforced by police after citizens ignored her warnings. 
  • Bowser previously extended the social distancing period on March 16, to April 27, meaning schools will remain closed until at least April 24. The mayor had previously ordered restaurants and bars to stop in-person dining and closed gyms and movie theaters last week.

Florida | tel: 866-779-6121
Georgia | tel: (844) 442-2681
Hawaii | tel: 211 between 7am – 10pm | text: 877-275-6569 | email info211@auw.org
Idaho | tel: 211
Illinois | tel: 1-800-889- 3931 | email: DPH.SICK@illinois.gov
Indiana | tel: Public and Provider Toll-Free Phone Number 877-826-0011 (available 24/7) | email: epiresource@isdh.in.gov
Iowa | tel: (515) 281-7689
Kansas | tel: 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF) Monday - Friday, 8.00am - 7.00pm; Saturday 10.00am - 2.00pm, Sunday 1.00pm - 5.00pm
Kentucky | tel: COVID-19 Hotline (800) 722-5725
Louisiana | tel: 211 OR text the keyword “LACOVID” to 898-211 to have instant access to the most current information available
Maine | tel: 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211 | email: info@211maine.org
Maryland (also see Montgomery County | tel: 1-410-517-3720 (if you have been exposed to someone who has it or general questions Call 211) and Prince George County | tel: 1-301-883-6627)

  • Governor Larry Hogan (D) ordered the closure of nonessential businesses effective 5.00pm 23 March. 
  • As of 15 March, casinos and racetracks were closed, and by 16 March, he had directed dine-in restaurants, bars, and gyms to close. By 19 March this had extended further to shopping malls and other entertainment venues. 
  • On 25 March, Hogan announced a closure of schools state wide through at least, April 24.

Massachusetts | tel: 211| ONLINE LIVE chat with Massachusetts 211
Michigan | tel: 888-535-6136 | email: covid19@michigan.gov.24/7
Minnesota | tel: COVID-19 Hotlines: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 7.00am – 7.00pm
Mississippi | tel: COVID-19 Hotline: 877-978-6453, Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 5.00pm
Missouri | tel: 573-751-6113 
Montana | tel: 1-888-333-0461
Nebraska | tel: (402) 552-6645 (8.00am - 8.00pm CST - 7 Days a Week)
Nevada | Nevada Health Response | tel: (775) 684-4000
New Hampshire | tel: 1-866-444-4211  TTY: 603-634-3388
New Jersey | tel: Call (24/7): 1-800-962-1253  Text: NJCOVID to 898-211
New Mexico | tel: Coronavirus hotline 1-855-600-3453
New York (also see New York City)
North Carolina | tel: 888-892-1162 text: sign up for text updates by texting COVIDNC to 898211
Northern California | tel: (916) 558-1784  
North Dakota | tel: 701-328-2372
Northern Nevada | tel: 775-684-4200
Ohio | tel: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)
Oklahoma | tel: (877) 215-8336 or 211
Oregon | tel: 211
Pennsylvania | tel: 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) | LIVE daily briefings from the PA Department of Health or www.governor.pa.gov/live/ or watch on Facebook
Rhode Island | tel: 401-222-8022 (Mon-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm) or After hours: Call 211 | email: RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov
South Carolina | tel: 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls 8.00am - 6.00pm every day.
South Dakota | tel: 1800 997 2880
Tennessee | tel: COVID-19 Public Information Number 877-857-2945 Available 10.00am – 10.00pm CST Daily
Texas | tel: 211, then choose Option 6. Hours: 7.00am – 8.00pm, 7 days per week
Utah | tel: COVID information line 1-800-456-7707 | Utah Governor Gary Herbert Media Newsroom
Vermont | tel: 211. If you have trouble reaching 211, dial 1-866-652-4636.
Virginia (also see Arlington | tel: 1-877-275-8343 and Fairfax County | tel: 1-703-267-3511)

  • Effective 11:59 p.m. March 24, restaurant dining rooms, other dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries and tasting rooms will be closed. Takeout and delivery are allowed.
  • Other brick-and-mortar retail stores in Virginia, such as bike shops, may stay open as long as they serve fewer than 10 people at a time.
  • Governor Ralph Northam (R) announced on 23 March that public schools would remain closed through the end of the school year.

Washington State | tel: 1-800-525-0127. Phone lines are currently staffed from 6.00am to 10.00pm, seven days a week.
West Virginia | tel: 1-800-887-4304 
Wisconsin | tel: 2-1-1 | text: COVID19 to 211-211
Wyoming | tel: 1-877-996-9000 
U.S. Virgin Islands | tel: Christiansted, VI 00820 - Voice: (340) 718-1311. St. Thomas, VI 00802 - Voice: (340) 774-9000

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