The human biosecurity emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 will be extended for a further three months.
The emergency period, which has been in place since 18 March 2020 to protect Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue until 17 December 2021.
The extension, declared by the Governor General today, was informed by specialist medical and epidemiological advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer.
The AHPPC has advised that the international COVID-19 situation continues to pose an unacceptable risk to public health.
The extension of the emergency period is an appropriate response to that risk.
The human biosecurity emergency declaration ensures the Government has the powers to take any necessary measures to prevent and control COVID-19.
This extends the four existing emergency determinations including:
- mandatory pre-departure testing and mask wearing for international flights
- restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory
- restrictions on outbound international travel for Australians
- restrictions on trade of retail outlets at international airports.
To date, these and other measures have greatly assisted in protecting Australia by preventing and controlling the entry, emergence, establishment and spread of COVID-19.
Australia continues to suppress the virus to minimise community transmission, as part of our four-phase National Plan to transition Australia's National COVID Response. It is important the emergency determinations remain in place to continue to help combat COVID-19.
We will continue to review these determinations regularly to take into account the latest medical advice
The Government also continues to consult with the States and Territories and the maritime industry on options for the staged resumption of cruising when the medical advice is that it is safe to do so.
These measures in place under the Biosecurity Act 2015 the can be amended or repealed at any time.