Covid-19 IOT Travel Information

Travelling to the Indian Ocean Territories

IOT COVID-19 subcommittee update

  • Travel to the IOT from very-low risk states WA, QLD and TAS permitted by air only. Quarantine not required, travellers must be fully vaccinated (double COVID-19 vaccine) from Tuesday, 30 November 2021.
  • Travel to the IOT from NT, SA, NSW, ACT and VIC is restricted to critical essential workers only. Restrictions are under ongoing review and all applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

MANDATORY VACCINATION REQUIREMENT FOR TRAVEL TO IOT

As indicated in our previous updates, we have been reviewing legal and medical advice on restricting travel to the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) to fully COVID vaccinated travellers only and are now in a position to announce our way forward.

As residents are aware, the IOT is entirely dependent on the ability to travel to WA for medical, education and business purposes, as well as onwards travel to other locations.  This means we cannot risk our travel arrangements with WA, so we have been taking a considered approach to developing the IOT roadmap to living with COVID, using WA’s border measures and roadmap to guide us.

The IOT COVID-19 sub-committee today formally adopted a new policy position that will take effect from Tuesday 30 November 2021:

  • Only fully vaccinated travellers (aged 12 and above), who have spent at least fourteen days (prior to travel) in a very low risk jurisdiction (as per WA guidelines) will be issued a travel approval by the IOT Administrator to travel by air to Christmas or the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Legal advice confirms this policy position, which will remain in place for the duration of the IOT COVID-19 State of Emergency or until the committee reviews its position.

We are continuing to work on application of mandatory COVID vaccination across a range of essential industries and services, again aligned with WA settings. It is important to note that many industries are already covered by the WA directions on mandatory vaccinations for workers. Further information on this will be provided in the near future.

Uptake of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccination has been extremely strong in the IOT, with the IOT Health Service reporting that 96 per cent of eligible Christmas & Cocos (Keeling) Islands residents aged 12 and over have been vaccinated. This is an excellent result and is a real credit to the health services team who did an exceptional job managing the roll-out, as well as to each and every one of you who rolled up your sleeves to protect us all. But we need to maintain this high level of vaccination, as it is our best protection.

Our strongest advice is that if you have not been vaccinated yet, please contact the health services on either Christmas or Cocos (Keeling) Islands ASAP and register yourself for a vaccine appointment.  IOTHS is up and running again with its COVID clinics and there are plenty of doses and appointments available.

It is great to see the country opening up again in stages. But – as travel returns and increases – now is the time each and every one of us needs to be vigilant to the potential threat COVID-19 poses to the most vulnerable in our community.

What we all need to do now is remember our COVID Safe behaviours and practices. These include physical distancing, hand hygiene and using contact registers.

All local businesses and patrons should be using paper-based contact registers for checking in. These contact registers are essential to support contact tracing if required.

The subcommittee asks you all to ensure contact registers are filled in at all times.

Travellers to the IOT should also monitor any exposure locations on the mainland and make contact with authorities if they have been in an affected site. Should anyone experience any symptoms, please isolate and immediately contact IOTHS by phone for further instructions.

Now is not the time for complacency – this is when we need people to follow the rules and be vigilant, to ensure we can control COVID risk and remain safely open to travel and tourism over the coming summer and beyond.

Australia map showing NSW, ACT and VIC as restricted.

IOT travel application forms

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

Anyone travelling to both islands will be required to complete forms for both CKI and CI.

These forms support the Territory Controllers and health service in our COVID-19 response and contact tracing, in the event of a positive COVID case in the IOT.

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.

 

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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