The Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt has announced in a media release that the human biosecurity emergency period in the country under the Biosecurity Act 2015 will be extended for a further three months.
According to the statement on the Department of Health’s website, the human biosecurity emergency declaration ensures that the government has the powers to take any necessary measures to prevent and control COVID-19. This extends the four existing emergency determinations including:
- mandatory pre-departure testing and mask-wearing for international flights
- restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory
- restrictions on outbound international travel for Australians
- restrictions on trade of retail outlets at international airports.
According to the media release, the extension was informed by specialist medical and epidemiological advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer. According to the advice, the international COVID-19 situation continues to pose an unacceptable risk to public health and, in an “appropriate response to that risk,” the emergency period that has been in place since March 18, 2020, will continue until Sept. 17, 2021.
The government said that it will continue to “review these determinations regularly to take into account the latest medical advice.”
“The Government also continues to consult with the States and Territories and the maritime industry on options for the staged resumption of cruising when the medical advice is that it is safe to do so,” Hunt wrote in the statement.
These measures in place under the Biosecurity Act 2015 can be amended or repealed at any time, he added.