Information about novel coronavirus

Thursday 6 February 2020
The Australian government has extra border measures, health screening and isolation recommendations for people and ships travelling to Australia from mainland China due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Corona virus information
This page was updated on 14 February 2020

An outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in late December 2019.

The Department of Health has issued a health alert with general information about the coronavirus.

Advice for the Maritime Industry

Australia has put in place extra border measures, health screening and isolation recommendations for people and ships travelling to Australia from mainland China.

There are a number of information sheets providing advice about the coronavirus specific to the maritime industry:

Please be aware that state and territory health and maritime agencies and port authorities may also have additional requirements.

The resources on the above pages are updated regularly.

What we are doing for the maritime industry

We take the safety of our staff and seafarers working on ships in Australian ports very seriously.

Australia is well prepared to respond to this outbreak and we’re working with other government agencies to ensure that our response is consistent with the whole of government approach.

We have processes in place to alert authorities in the event AMSA staff become aware of a possible case of coronavirus through our operational interactions with ships visiting Australia.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) and Biosecurity officers remain responsible for border clearance processes in Australian ports. 

The Department of Agriculture Water and Environment is in contact with international vessels to ensure they understand the requirements and comply with pre-arrival reporting of ill travellers. Companies and masters are reminded of the legal obligation to report accurately.

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) and Queensland’s Vessel Traffic Services have been monitoring all foreign trading ships arriving at Queensland ports.

How does Coronavirus spread?

COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person to person through:

  • direct contact with a person while they are infectious
  • contact with droplets when a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes
  • touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated by droplets from secretions coughed or sneezed from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

How can I reduce my risk?

The following measures will help reduce the risk of spread:

  • contact with persons on board the vessel should be limited to essential crew
  • wearing of appropriate Personal Protection Equipment including surgical masks
  • frequent handwashing or use of alcohol based hand sanitiser
  • wherever possible, stay one metre or more away from crew members.

What should I do if I have further questions?

For general health information concerning coronavirus, please visit the Department of Health's coronavirus information page.

The Resources section includes many useful and informative guides and fact sheets.