We continue to urge Australians who have opportunities to travel back to Australia by commercial means, to do so as soon as possible
- don't wait for a better option. If there are commercial flights available now, take them
- all travellers arriving in Australia will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival
- the current travel restrictions are subject to change. Please check the Department of Home Affairs website regularly: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/travel-restrictions#f
The situation is changing constantly and new restrictions are being imposed regularly to contain the spread of COVID-19 globally. We strongly encourage you to read and subscribe to smartraveller.gov.au and follow local the AHC on our social media accounts for the most up-to-date information on changing circumstances.
On 26 March the Australian Foreign Minister directed the departure of remaining non-essential staff and dependants from a number of posts in high-risk countries. This includes Papua New Guinea.
If you are already in Papua New Guinea and wish to return to Australia, we recommend you leave now.
If you plan to stay in PNG, consider whether you have the support and access to effective health services you and your family will need in what will be a hugely challenging period for local authorities and service providers. You should also expect that many services will not be available for several months.
From 25 March, Australian citizens will be restricted from travelling overseas.
This travel restriction does not apply to:
− Persons ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia;
− Airline and maritime crew and associated safety workers;
− Persons engaged in the day to day conduct of outbound and inbound freight;
− Persons whose travel is associated with essential work at offshore facilities; and
− Persons travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.
We have issued this advice for two reasons:
- There may be a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 overseas. You may come in contact with more people than usual, including during long-haul flights and in crowded airports. Health care systems in some countries may come under strain and may not be as well-equipped as Australia’s or have the capacity to support foreigners. You may not have your normal support networks overseas.
- Overseas travel has become more complex and unpredictable. Many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions. These are changing often and quickly. Your travel plans may be disrupted. You may be placed in quarantine or denied entry to some countries. Think about what this might mean for your health, and your family, work or study responsibilities.
Please note that all current travel restrictions for entry to Australia remain in place, these include:
- Only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.
- Exemptions to this restriction apply to New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia, immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents.
- There is also an exemption for New Zealand and Pacific Island passport holders who are transiting through Australia on their way home.
The increased border measures have meant that manual processing is in place for passengers departing to Australia. This means that the process is time consuming, and does not follow the usual automated processes. As a result, travellers will need to arrive at the airport early and prepare for delays on check in.
If you are already overseas and wish to return to Australia, we recommend you leave now.
On 26 March, the Australian Foreign Minister directedthe departure of remaining non-essential staff and dependents from a number of posts in high-risk countries. This includes Papua New Guinea. This follows a decision on 17 March to offer voluntary departures globally for all dependants of staff at our overseas missions, staff at high risk due to underlying health conditions and non-essential staff. Some flights from PNG to Australia are still operating but several regular services have already ceased. Ongoing flight availability cannot be guaranteed.
If you’re in PNG and can’t or don’t want to return to Australia, you should:
• Subscribe to receive updates to the PNG Travel Advisory
• Minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus
• Follow the advice of the PNG Government and the World Health Organization.
• Take care to minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus including by self-isolating.
If you choose to stay, note our ability to provide consular assistance may be extremely limited due to restrictions on movement or closure of services.
From 9pm on 20 March, if you are not an Australian citizen, Australian resident or a direct family memberwith a current visa (including spouses, minor dependents and legal guardians), you will no longer be allowed entry into Australia. These restrictions also apply to passengers transiting Australia. The only exemption is for citizens of New Zealand and Pacific Island (including Papua New Guinea) passport holders who are transiting through Australia on their way home. All other travellers will be denied entry to Australia.
If you are an Australian resident, Australian citizen or a direct family member with a current visa, you can continue to travel to Australia at this time. However, as of 16 March, all travellers, including Australian citizens, will be required to self-isolate following the Australian Department of Health’s Coronavirus COVID-19 isolation guidance for 14 days. For detailssee the Australian Border Force website.
All cruise ships which have sailed from foreign portshave been banned from entering Australian ports for 30 days.
General tips for Australians who choose to remain in PNG are available on the Smartraveller COVID-19 page.
If your situation is or becomes life-threatening, or you have very serious concerns for your welfare, please contact the Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305.
For the latest advice on Australian border arrangements, see the Department of Home Affairs’ COVID-19 alert. Also see the Department of Home Affairs’ fact sheet for immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents.
Contact your airline, travel agent or insurance company to discuss your travel plans.
Note that any new information affecting the safety and security of Australians in PNG will be communicatedthrough the Travel Advisory for PNG at www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/pacific/papua-new-guinea. Ensure you have subscribed to receive updates. You should also refer to Smartraveller news on COVID-19 at www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/coronavirus-covid-19 and ensure you’re a friend of the Australian High Commission Papua New Guinea’s Facebook page as we will provide updates there as well.
Travel advice updates
When we update a travel advisory you're subscribed to, you'll get an email about it. Simply choose all the destinations you want to receive updates for in the Destinations table under ‘Manage your preferences’. You can select individual or all destinations. Or you can subscribe to all destinations in a region in one go by choosing the Region tab.
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The information below is sourced from the Australian Department of Health and World Health Organisation and tells you what you need to know about coronavirus (COVID-19) — what it is, how it spreads, who is most at risk, and what you can do to help stop it spreading.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Symptoms of infection can include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, and/or shortness of breath. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe disease such as pneumonia, kidney failure and less commonly death. Good hygiene can prevent infection.
1. What is the source and how is it transmitted?
Preliminary epidemiological investigations suggest most of the first 41 cases were traced to a seafood market in Wuhan, Hubei province, where the outbreak is now sustained by human-to-human transmission. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people whilst others circulate amongst animals, including camels, cats, snakes and bats and others. Ongoing genomic analysis of this virus will hopefully soon assist in the specific source of this outbreak.
The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through close contact:
- direct close contact with a person whilst they are infectious;
- close contact with a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes; or
- touching objects or surfaces (such as door knobs or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
Most infections are transmitted by people when they have symptoms. These symptoms can include fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness and shortness of breath. There is evidence to show that some people may be infectious before symptoms arise. Given the likely animal source of the virus, the consumption of raw or undercooked meat should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
2. What is the incubation period? Who is most at risk?
Evidence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests the time between infection and the development of symptoms is often 1‒12.5 days (with a median of 5‒6 days) and an upper range of 14 days used for quarantine purposes. From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:
- people with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer
- elderly people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- very young children and babies*, and
- people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions.
*At this stage, the risk to children and babies, and the role children play in the transmission of COVID-19, is not clear. However, there has so far been a low rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases among children relative to the broader population.
3. How can I help protect myself / others?
Standard recommendations to prevent the spread of infection include:
- Regular hand washing (20 seconds with soap and water) or the use of an alcohol based hand rub of at least 60% ethanol (after coughing/sneezing, caring for the sick, before eating, after toileting, before / during and after handling food or animals and animal waste)
- Cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing with a flexed elbow or tissue.
- Minimise touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth.
- Thoroughly cook meat and eggs. Avoid all high-risk areas (farms, live animal markets, areas of animal slaughter). Avoid all surfaces with animal droppings or secretions on them.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness (such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing). Seek medical attention and remain home from work should you develop any respiratory symptoms. The WHO recommends maintaining at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others (particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever).
- Avoid all contact with animals (alive or dead), including pigs, chickens, ducks and wild birds.
- Follow the recommendations of local health authorities.
4. Other information:
While 2019-nCoV is of concern and we remain vigilant, it is currently influenza season in the northern hemisphere. It is more likely that travellers displaying infectious symptoms have a common respiratory infection, rather than COVID−19.
5. Other resources:
For the latest advice, information and resources on COVID-19, please go the following websites:
- Smartraveller: www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/coronavirus-covid-19
- Department of Health, Australia (General advice - resources): www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov or www.health.gov.au/resources
- World Health Organisation (WHO), Advice for the Public: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
- WHO PNG Facebook: www.facebook.com/WHOPapuaNewGuinea/
- PNG National Department of Health (NDOH) www.health.gov.pg/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/PNGNDOH/
Information about assisting Australians overseas
Australians requiring consular assistance may call during business hours from 08:00 to 16:30 Monday to Friday excluding public holidays.
Australian High Commission
Godwit Road, Port Moresby
Tel: +675 7090 0100
Fax: +675 325 9239
For urgent consular assistance out of hours please call +675 325 9333 or +675 7090 0100 to be transferred to the 24 hour Consular Emergency Centre.
Australian Passport services
Passport applications must be lodged in person at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby, National Capital District or the Consulate-General in Lae, Morobe Province. An appointment is not required. Lodge applications during business hours from 08:00 to 16:30 Monday to Friday excluding public holidays.
In Papua New Guinea, you are required to pay passport fees in PNG Kina by EFTPOS, direct deposit or bank cheque payable to the Australian High Commission, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Cash payments will not be accepted. Fees are subject to indexation. No GST is payable on passport fees.
Notarial services are available during business hours from 08:00 to 16:30 Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. In Accordance with the Consular Fees Act 1955, fees apply for notarial services. In Papua New Guinea, you are required to pay consular fees for notarial services in PNG Kina by EFTPOS, direct deposit or bank cheque payable to the Australian High Commission, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Cash payments will not be accepted. Fees are subject to change. No GST is payable on consular fees.
See Smartraveller for more information about legalising documents overseas.
Smartraveller has the latest, authoritative travel advice so you can be informed and prepared about overseas travel. Subscribe to receive travel advice updates - by simply supplying your name and email address – straight to your inbox.
You can now also subscribe to the new SMS service - by supplying your mobile number – to receive critical alerts in the event of a crisis overseas.
In a crisis, Smartraveller will activate a crisis page on its website. It will make it easier for you or someone you know to contact the Australian Government if you need help. It will supplement the consular emergency hotline.
Visit www.smartraveller.gov.au to subscribe or connect with Smartraveller on Facebook and Twitter.
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Living in Papua New Guinea
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Returning to Australia
Handy information for Australians or residents returning from a holiday or moving back to Australia.
For more information on bringing items (including pets) into Australia go to border.gov.au