The Australian Government will extend the human biosecurity emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015, Australian Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced. The Minister says that the spread of the coronavirus still poses an unacceptable public health risk. Hence, entry of cruise ships into Australia and overseas travel will continue to be restricted by an additional three months.
The emergency period, which has been in place since 18 March 2020, will now be in place until 17 December 2020.
The extension of the emergency period was informed by specialist medical and epidemiological advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
AHPPC has advised that the international and domestic COVID-19 situation continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk.
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 and protect the health of all Australians. These powers have been used on a limited basis on expert medical advice.
There are currently four Determinations under section 477 of the Biosecurity Act which are in place to protect Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Restrictions on the entry of cruise ships into Australia
- Protections for the supply and sale of certain essential goods
- Restrictions on overseas travel
- Restrictions on retail stores at international airports