Date published: 
4 March 2020
Media type: 
Media release
General public

Australia’s chief health protection body, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, is urging anyone who has returned to Australia from Iran since 19 February 2020 to self-isolate at home and closely monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 until 14 days after they left Iran.

Iran reported its first COVID-19 case on 20 February 2020 and this grew to 1,501 cases and 66 deaths as of 3 March 2020.

It is clear that the Iranian health system is managing a large number of cases which have developed over a short period of time and as a result, reporting of cases may have been delayed or underestimated.

Australian public health laboratories have now confirmed several cases of COVID-19 in people with direct or indirect travel history to Iran. All confirmed cases have been isolated and are receiving medical treatment. Importantly, responsible jurisdictions have commenced contact tracing.

We are reaching out to members of Australia’s Iranian community to update them of our change and seek their support to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Self-isolation is a key component to support Australia’s efforts, and one of the reasons we have been able to keep confirmed cases low so far. People should monitor for symptoms such as fever, coughing, shortness of breath or tiredness and seek medical care and testing.

People in Australia have diligently followed through with their 14-day self-isolation periods, which reflects how seriously they take the health of their families, and the public.

With the international spread of this virus, it is almost inevitable that we will see more cases of COVID-19 in Australia in coming weeks.

The best defence for COVID-19 remains good hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and to isolate when unwell.

This was a situation we were planning for and Australia remains well prepared for this health challenge.

These measures are part of our ongoing strategy of containment and minimising risk to the Australian community as detailed in our pandemic preparedness plan.

Other measures announced on 1 March 2020 include;

  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has increased travel advisory from level 3 to level 4 – do not travel to Iran.
  • Entry to Australia for persons who have been in Iran in the past 14 days has been limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their dependants, for an initial 14-day period from 1 March 2020.

For more information on the steps people should take to stop the spread of the virus and best protect themselves and others, a range of resources is available on the Department of Health website.