Enhanced screening measures for Ebola extended to sea travel
2 December 2014
From December 1, relevant cruise vessel passengers and crew will require screening and to detail their travel history as an extension of the preventative measures to reduce the risk of Ebola Virus Disease reaching Australia.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, reemphasised the precautionary nature of the screening measures, which includes the new Travel History Card (THC), as a necessary step in Australia’s efforts to remain free from the disease.
“We have seen successful implementation of the measures at all Australian international airports and the same consideration has gone into extending the measures to our seaports,” Minister Joyce said.
“While all care has been taken to minimise impacts to travellers we are taking the necessary actions to manage the low risk of Ebola arriving.”
Screening is being undertaken for relevant cruise travellers. These passengers or crew members will also be required to complete a THC as part of normal immigration clearance processes.
The preventative measures are carefully undertaken by frontline biosecurity officers and are in accordance with the latest advice from the Department of Health.
“We have introduced these measures upon advice from the Department of Health and maintain there is still no evidence to suggest that Ebola is in Australia – or that it is likely to arrive through our airports or seaports,” Minister Joyce said.
“We are quite fortunate to have in place a world class biosecurity system that is ready to respond to significant public health issues, like Ebola, as well as to animal and plant pest disease risks.
“Having a science-based biosecurity system covering the health of people, animals and plants means we can apply the best guided measures to meet both current and future biosecurity challenges head on.
“Community wellbeing remains our primary concern and I wish to reassure all Australians that we are taking the appropriate actions to safeguard Australia and manage the low risk of the disease from entering and establishing on our shores.”
For more information about the Ebola virus, new measures and the Australian Government response visit agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/travel/advice-ebola.