Covid-19 IOT Travel Information

Travelling to the Indian Ocean Territories

**IMPORTANT –   UPDATED Travel Restrictions to Christmas & Cocos (Keeling) Islands – 8/01/2021 **

The IOT COVID-19 sub-committee met this morning to discuss the Queensland community transmission case and the WA Government’s recent decision not to accept Queensland travellers from midnight on Friday, 8 January 2021. As you are aware, we are aligned to WA’s controlled border arrangements and risk ratings for the states and territories of mainland Australia.

We have agreed to cancel all future approvals to travel to Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands from Queensland. This is consistent with the recent adjustments for Victoria and New South Wales.

Travellers who were in Queensland after January 2 and recently arrived in WA are welcome to re-apply for travel approval to Christmas or Cocos (Keeling) Islands once you have completed fourteen days’ self-isolation in WA and can provide a negative COVID-19 test.

Travellers from Queensland seeking an exemption to travel to the Christmas or Cocos (Keeling) Islands should use the Western Australian Government strict exemption list as a guide. All applications for exemption will be assessed on a case by case basis in conjunction with WA Government. 

The WA exemption list is limited to:

  • certain senior Government officials
  • certain active military personnel
  • a member of the Commonwealth Parliament
  • a person carrying out functions under a law of the Commonwealth
  • a person responsible for transport freight or logistics
  • anyone who is given approval by IOT Administrator, Territory Controllers or WA State Emergency Coordinator or an authorised officer
  • compassionate grounds.

Please note, the issuing of an exemption to travel to Christmas or Cocos (Keeling) Islands does not remove the requirement to undertake fourteen days’ self-isolation/quarantine in WA prior to any travel to the islands.

Anyone affected by the changed border arrangements for Queensland who entered the IOT over recent days, is being contacted, quarantined and medically screened. This is in line with the WA protocols and expert health advice.

Our rigorous and stringent processes, including mandatory application processes and detailed travel history for all travellers to Christmas or Cocos (Keeling) Islands, are in place to protect our communities.

The rapidly evolving situation across mainland Australia means we need all IOT community members to remain highly vigilant with hand hygiene and physical distancing. If you are ill with respiratory symptoms, please seek advice from the health service (via phone in the first instance if it is not a medical emergency).

While understanding that these rapid changes created some disruption and frustration for residents and visitors, the adjustments are critical to keep the IOT COVIDSafe and COVID-free.

All travellers – regardless of whether they are IOT residents or visitors – must complete a travel form for the Island or Islands that they intend to travel to. For example, Christmas Islanders travelling to Cocos must complete the form for travel entry into Cocos. The same applies for Cocos residents travelling to Christmas Island.

The links to the forms are found here:

I am travelling to Cocos Keeling Islands

I am travelling to Christmas Island

Our rigorous and stringent processes are in place to protect the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands community, which include mandatory application processes and detailed travel history for all travellers to Christmas or Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Anyone seeking an exemption to travel to Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands must satisfy the strict exemption policy that the Western Australian Government has outlined.

For example:

  • senior Government Officials;
  • active military personnel;
  • a member of the Commonwealth Parliament;
  • a person carrying out functions under a law of the Commonwealth;

All requests for exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will be required to complete 14 days of self-quarantine in WA, if approved to enter WA at the discretion of WA Police, as well as undertake mandatory COVID-19 testing.

Masks on domestic flights

On Friday, 8 January 2021, National Cabinet agreed to additional aviation measures to strengthen protection of Australians from COVID-19.

Effectively immediately, for domestic air travel, including flights to the IOT, all passengers (excluding children 12 and under or those with particular exemptions) and air crew must wear masks on flights and in airports.

Virgin Australia has implemented these requirements across all its flights, including the IOT service. Passengers will be required to wear masks unless eating or drinking, or unless a medical exemption applies.

In accordance with the current process, any passengers who do not have a mask will be supplied one by the on-ground VARA team, with masks also available on board all aircraft.

See links for further information:

Recovery flights and travel approvals

During the summer months, you may find your travel plans impacted by weather. If this occurs and your Virgin Australia flight to the IOT is re-scheduled, you do NOT need to submit a new travel application as your travel approval will be transferred to the revised flight date and Virgin Australia will be notified.

For those travelling to Perth on a re-scheduled flight, you will need to log in and update your G2G with your new arrival date yourself. This is a Western Australia Police requirement.

Up-to-date information on travelling to WA with controlled interstate borders:

Travel to WA

Information about entering WA from interstate or overseas.

Controlled interstate border

Information on WA’s controlled interstate border arrangement, conditions of entry and quarantine.

Be COVIDSafe, stay COVID-free

There are still no cases of COVID-19 in the IOT. However, with the ongoing community transmission on Australia’s east coast, it is a timely reminder to be COVIDSafe.

COVIDSafe means maintaining at least 1.5 metres between you and others at all times, regularly washing your hands with soap, staying at home if you’re sick and getting tested if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.

If you have previously been tested for COVID but start to feel sick again, get re-tested. Stay at home while you wait for your results.

Wash your hands to stop the spread – clean hands keep you healthy and help stop the spread of germs.

Regularly wash your hands for 20–30 seconds with soap. Remember to wash in between your fingers, the back of your hands and your thumbs.

Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, when you’re preparing food, before or after eating, and after you have been out.

Hand sanitiser is a good alternative when soap and water aren’t available.

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