Media Release

Preventative Ebola measures enhanced at international airports

6 November 2014

The announcement of further Australian Government precautionary measures at our international airports keeps the risk of Ebola Virus Disease reaching Australia as low as possible.
 
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the additional measures at international airports announced yesterday by Prime Minister Tony Abbott ensure Australia’s defences against Ebola remain world-leading.
 
“We make no apologies for introducing these proportionate measures that accord with the latest advice from the Department of Health,” Minister Joyce said.
 
“My department’s biosecurity officers will play a key role at the border – educating and screening travellers arriving at international airports in Australia to keep the risk Ebola poses to our community very low.
 
“All travellers arriving in Australia at an international airport will shortly be asked to fill in a new traveller history card which will identify their travel to or from an Ebola affected country in the past 21 days.
 
“Travellers will have new guidance available about Australian Government entry requirements through a new in-flight announcement, new information materials and enhanced signage at our airports.
 
“Identified travellers will also be asked to answer questions about their travel and have their temperature checked on arrival by a biosecurity officer.
 
“If their temperature is above normal, or they are found to present a risk because of their travel history, a medical practitioner will perform an additional health assessment. This assessment will occur before the traveller is able to leave the airport.
 
“I want to reemphasise the precautionary nature of these measures. There is no evidence that Ebola is in Australia – or that it is likely to arrive through our airports.
 
“We are lucky to already have a world class biosecurity system in place that is well versed at responding to public health issues as well as to animal and plant pest and disease concerns.
 
“The professional officers of the Department of Agriculture who will be undertaking temperature checks for identified travellers from Ebola affected countries will receive training as well as appropriate personal protective equipment.
 
“The wellbeing of our community is our primary concern and the new measures should reassure all Australians that we are taking responsible steps to manage the low risk.”
 
For more information about the Ebola virus, new measures and the Australian Government response visit agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/travel/advice-ebola.