CANBERRA – The Australian government is imposing a ban on non-essential international travels to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

According to a statement by the Department of Home Affairs, Australian citizens and permanent residents are restricted from travelling overseas starting from Wednesday (25/3) with some exemptions including airline and maritime crew and people travelling on official government businesses.

In addition, all people entering Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. The government has also announced more restrictions on social interactions, including limiting the number of people at funerals and weddings and temporarily closing non-essential services such as cinemas and nightclubs.

“The decisions we’ve taken have all been designed to minimise [risks], but whilst at the same time guaranteeing that the essential underpinnings of our health, our security, our food supply, are able to continue,” Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt told ABC News on Wednesday.

“Those things are absolutely critical to be able to fight the disease because if you lose the support for health and food and security, then you won’t be in a position to protect and support those that contract the disease and you won’t be in a position to enforce and to implement the measures that will prevent the spread.” (MS)