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Tips for Staying Safe While Travelling in Australia During Coronavirus

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease in some areas, people may be able to explore travel throughout Australia. However, the decisions that you make over the next few months could expose you unnecessarily to the virus.

The government continues to recommend avoiding unnecessary domestic travel. Some states and territories have implemented local measures, and you should review state and territory specific information to learn about current restrictions on domestic travel at the end of this guide.

If you must travel, to minimise your exposure to COVID-19 and protect your health, you should follow these safety guidelines.


Determine If It Is Safe to Travel for You

Travel safety during the outbreak depends on each individual circumstance. Factors such as overall health, age, underlying conditions, and the areas which are being visited all contribute to the level of travel risk.


Pre-Existing Conditions

People with certain pre-existing conditions are more likely to have complications from COVID-19. Those who have been diagnosed with respiratory disorders, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular illnesses, cancer, are immunosuppressed or have other chronic illnesses should reconsider traveling anywhere where there is risk.


Age and COVID-19

Although COVID-19 can be fatal at any age, the risk of complications and death increase significantly over the age of 65. People between the ages of 10-39 are shown to have a lower fatality rate of approximately 0.2%. However, age does not change or reduce the chances of infection. It may only change the likelihood of fatality from COVID-19.

Regardless of age, all travellers should take precautions to minimise the risk of exposure. Those aged 20-29 have been the biggest contributor to cases in Australia since the pandemic began. This is largely due to lifestyle factors. Whilst this group may be at lower risk of dying from the infection, they may be able to spread it those at a higher risk of severe illness or death from the disease. This is important to consider during or on return from travel.


Travel Destinations and COVID-19

Travellers should ensure they consider the state that they plan to travel in and review the number of current cases. Extra precautions may be required in states with higher infection rates. Day to day updated information can be found here: Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Current Situation.


Stay Committed to Social Distancing and Hygiene

Becoming lax on hygiene and social distancing could result in a rise in infection rates. Travellers should commit to social distancing and exceptional hygiene by:

  • Continuing to keep 1.5 metres distance from others when possible
  • Washing hands frequently, especially before eating
  • In the event of fever or respiratory symptoms, individuals are advised to stay home and get tested. You may also wish to contact your doctor for further medical advice.

Additional COVID-19 Measures

The following additional measures should be taken to avoid contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others.

  1. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
    If you have been out in public and have not had the opportunity to wash your hands, you should never touch your eyes, nose, mouth or any other part of your face until your hands are clean. COVID-19 has been shown to be capable of living on surfaces for hours and you can easily transmit it to yourself if you touch an infected object and then touch your face. In some states, the wearing of masks is mandatory.
     
  2. Avoids crowds as much as possible.
    The recommended 1.5 metre social distance is difficult to follow when you are in a crowd of people. Avoid any events or locations where large numbers of people are close together, like crowded stores. This is particularly important if you are traveling to a state with a relatively high number of coronavirus cases. If you cannot socially distance adequately you may consider using a face mask to reduce your risk.
     
  3. Use the COVIDSafe app for notifications.
    Although participation is voluntary, it is highly recommended to download the COVIDSafe app to get rapid notifications if you have been exposed to someone who may have COVID-19. This will allow you the opportunity to get tested early, speak to a medical provider and self-isolate if necessary.
     
  4. Seek medical attention if you develop symptoms and stay at home.
    Do not go out in public if you have symptoms such as fever, coughing, or difficulties breathing. Wear a mask when possible to avoid infecting others who are close to you. Get tested for COVID-19 and isolate until you receive the result. You may also wish to contact the National Coronavirus Hotline or local medical help for further directions.
     
  5. Carry an essential hygiene kit.
    This kit should include plenty of hand sanitiser, disposable and reusable masks, and disinfectant wipes. This is useful for situations where there is no access to hand washing facilities.
     
  6. Clean frequently touched objects.
    Ensure you are disinfecting any objects that you touch frequently. Use disinfectant wipes to clean frequently touched objects, especially smartphones and anything else you are handling regularly like sunglasses or your wallet or purse.

Domestic Flights and COVID-19

If you are flying domestically, you should review state and territory specific information for your destination at the links below.

Each state or territory can have its own restrictions regarding closed borders, quarantine protocols and more, so it is strongly recommended to check before you depart.

Reference: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-travellers#travel-within-australia

Domestic flights are open for necessary travel and they are safe with minimal current risk of COVID exposure, but you should also follow several precautions while flying including the following as recommended by the Australian aviation industry’s Domestic Passenger Journey Protocol:

  • Wear a mask if you are at increased risk of severe complications if infected with COVID-19 or if you are unable to maintain physical distancing.
     
  • Know that mask does not substitute for other precautions such as cough etiquette and hygiene. Use precaution to dispose or disinfect used masks appropriately.
     
  • Check with your airline regarding specific safety protocols. Some such as Qantas are implementing contactless check in via the airline’s app or website as well as self-serve bag drops.
     
  • Wearing a mask is frequently recommended by airlines although it is rarely required. Check with your airline regarding mask protocols the day of your departure.

By following these recommendations, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 while participating in necessary travel within the country.

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