The national security committee implemented a travel ban on all non-Australian residents travelling from Italy on Wednesday after the number of cases in the country surged past 10,000. As of Thursday afternoon, France, Germany and Spain now have more than 2000 cases each.
All travellers from Europe to Australia will now be asked to self-declare at check-in if they have been to Italy during the travel ban. Non-Australian residents who have been in Italy will not be allowed to board flights. Australian residents returning from Italy will be told to self-isolate for 14-days once they return home.
But the European Union’s porous borders mean that passports are not checked between countries, allowing travellers who depart Europe from airports outside of Italy to slip through. Travellers who have been to Italy and fail to self-identify at check-in and are later found by Border Force to have travelled to the area face being deported from Australia and financial penalties.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced most travel from Europe to the US would be suspended for 30 days.
This applied to 26 countries including Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain, but not to travellers from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The UK has recorded 459 cases to date.
“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” Mr Trump said.
“I’m confident that by continuing to take these these tough measures we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.”
The US has now recorded more than 1300 cases of the virus. Globally, more than 125,000 people have been infected with the virus. 4630 people have died and 68,219 have recovered.
A Department of Foreign Affairs source said further travel bans would be under consideration for any country that had a surge in the number of confirmed cases.
With Matthew Knott and Anthony Galloway
Eryk Bagshaw is an economics correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra