If you’re not an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an immediate family member of either, you’re not going to be visiting Australia any time soon. With Qantas and Virgin Australia all shutting down international flying until May or June, that wasn’t going to be an easy feat anyway, but now the decision has been made for you.
From 9 PM Australia time on Friday, March 20th, Australia will close its border to all non citizens, permanent residents or immediate family members of either group. Even if you were still planning to come as any of the above, the government is mandating a 14 day self quarantine period of isolation.
Timing of the move is intended to stop travelers from boarding flights only to find out that they must leave immediately without being granted entry, which obviously wouldn’t be ideal.
Australians abroad are strongly encouraged to return home immediately, for fear of further flight routes being discontinued, which would make that much more difficult.
Anyone in Australia hoping to get out will be allowed to do so, subject to restrictions at your final destination and any flight availability. In other words, if you’re a tourist trying to leave – there’s no one stopping you, you might just struggle for flights.
New Zealand will also close its border to tourists and foreigners from midnight tonight, in a move which goes further than previous restrictions. Until the announcement, tourists were still allowed to enter the country, but were forced to self quarantine for 14 days. Now, they’ll simply be turned back.
New Zealand Citizens and permanent residents will still be eligible for entry, though advice from Prime Mininster Jacinda Ardern is for all New Zealanders abroad to return home ASAP, if they plan to in the near future. All returning residents must self quarantine, but with flights being cut by the day, anyone with near term plans for a return would find it more difficult with each passing day.
Partners, legal guardians or dependents of New Zealand citizens or permanent residents are also excluded from the ban, though they must also self quarantine upon arrival.