Australians are being urged to fly home as soon as possible to avoid being stranded overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Travel advice issued on Tuesday evening by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Australians should return home before the virus caused more borders to close.
Travellers are also being urged to reconsider their need to go overseas.
“If you’re already overseas and wish to return to Australia, we recommend you do so as soon as possible by commercial means,” the advice read.
“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.”
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Australians who are overseas & want to come home are advised to do so as soon as possible by commercial means. Transport options will likely become more limited as countries respond to the #COVID19 outbreak & @dfat’s capacity to provide consular help may be limited.
From midday on Tuesday, March 17, Australians were no longer able to travel to Europe, with an initial EU ban in place for 30 days.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with the national cabinet on Tuesday evening, with new precautionary measures likely to be announced on Wednesday.
As COVID-19 cases in Australia near 450, an increase of nearly 300 since Friday, the nation’s chief medical officers are giving the government advice on how to best protect residents in aged care homes and at indoor gatherings.
Non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people have already been banned.
Most schools are already taking precautions, including cancelling excursions and assemblies. A number of private schools have independently taken the decision to move to online classes.
Chief medical officers haven’t ruled out school closures but they’re being cautious about the idea.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said they were hesitant about closing schools for two reasons. The first is that young people are less likely to contract the illness, or have a serious case compared to the elderly.
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