'Be travel ready': Here's the latest travel advice from the Australian government

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says the international travel environment is now more complex as COVID-19 and monkeypox cases rise globally.

AUSTRALIA-SYDNEY-COVID-19-BORDER REOPENING

Passengers at Sydney Airport in Australia. (file) Credit: Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima

Highlights
  • • Unvaccinated Australians are "strongly discouraged" from travelling: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • • Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd encourages Australians to "have a contingency plan"
  • • ATAGI recommends two doses of monkeypox vaccine for a specific group 4-6 weeks before their travel
Melbourne resident Nisha Antil is planning a trip to India with her family in September.

But she fears her travel may not go as planned amidst the COVID-19 and monkeypox outbreaks.

Her fear stems from Australia's decision to ban travel with India and other countries during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago. Her husband was stranded in India due to border closures.

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"The most concerning aspect is getting stuck with travel bans or transit issues with flights between India and Australia," Ms Antil, a mother of two, said.

The current for Australians travelling to India is "exercise a high degree of caution" as COVID-19 restrictions, including localised lockdowns and curfews, may be imposed at short notice.
Nisha.jpeg
Nisha Antil and her family Credit: Nisha Antil
A spokesperson at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told SBS travel always comes with risks.

"The international travel environment is now more complex. We strongly encourage Australians to be travel ready and (stay) fully informed on all aspects of their travel," the spokesman said.

So, what does travel ready mean?

1. Research into your destination

Australians can use , a government app that provides the latest travel advisory, to understand the requirements and risks they face in 178 destinations.

The information related to consular access is readily available on the portal.

Incoming travellers can check border restrictions and local requirements before coming to Australia.

Smartraveller content is available in English, Thai, Indonesian, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Simplified and Traditional Chinese. 

2. Be up-to-date with vaccination

Unvaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and international visitors can leave Australia anytime.

However, some countries still require a COVID-19 vaccination certificate before arrival.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said Australians not vaccinated against COVID-19 are "strongly discouraged from travelling overseas due to health risks."


3. Have a contingency plan

Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd encourages Australians to "have a contingency plan" if they become unwell and have to isolate overseas.

"It is important for all Australians to follow the local public health order and their advice," Professor Kidd said.

It may be more sensible to travel to a few locations rather than different places every day in case you become unwell and have your travel plan disrupted.

4. Be travel insured

Travellers are advised to check if their travel insurance includes health cover for COVID-19 and the related travel disruptions.

has partnered with CHOICE to provide Australians with a guide on buying travel insurance.

How about monkeypox?

The rising number of monkeypox (MPX) cases prompted the World Health Organization to declare it a global pandemic on 23 July.

Since 1 January, 83 countries have reported more than 23,000 laboratory-confirmed cases and eight deaths. Australia has detected at least 58 MPX cases, mostly in returned travellers.

A spokesperson at the Department of Health and Aged Care told SBS that Australians should be aware of the MPX infection signs if they are either travelling or returning from countries where cases had been detected.

"They are urged to seek medical help if they think they may have been exposed to the virus," the spokesperson said.

Should you take an MPX vaccine before travelling overseas?

The WHO's data shows 98 per cent of MPX cases are in men who have sex with men.

And the current stockpile of the second-generation smallpox vaccine ACAM-2000 is not as effective against MPX. It is also not recommended for people with weakened immune systems and HIV.

Australia has secured a supply of much safer and third-generation vaccine JYNNEOS. The vulnerable groups can get this vaccine as early as next week.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said JYNNEOS is administered in a two-dose schedule by subcutaneous (under the skin) injection at least 28 days apart.

The vaccine is safe to use in people with immunocompromise, and in children or during pregnancy after risk-benefit assessment, ATAGI said.

ATAGI currently recommends JYNNEOS for:

1. Anyone categorised by public health authorities as a high-risk monkeypox contact in the past 14 days

2. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men

3. Sex workers, particularly those whose clients are in high-risk categories

4. Anyone in the above risk categories planning to travel to a country experiencing a significant outbreak, with vaccination recommended 4-6 weeks before departure.

5. Immunisation providers who are administering the ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine

SBS is committed to providing all COVID-19 updates to Australia’s multicultural and multilingual communities. Stay safe and stay informed by visiting regularly the 
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4 min read
Published 5 August 2022 at 10:23am, updated 5 August 2022 at 2:07pm
By Yumi Oba
Source: SBS