In recognition of Norfolk Island being a remote community and its vulnerability to coronavirus, I have declared a state of emergency.
This decision has been made to protect the Norfolk Island community, which currently has no known cases of COVID-19.
Effective from today, 17 March, a travel ban is in place in relation to passenger arrivals to the island. Only residents and essential staff will be able to travel to Norfolk Island until further notice, and anyone returning to the island will need to self-isolate for 14 days once on island.
The population on Norfolk Island is, on average, older than the population on the mainland. This, together with the Island's remote location and limited diagnostic and medical capability, makes the Island more vulnerable to the virus. The Island's remote location means that some people would need to be aeromedically evacuated to the mainland should the virus take effect.
Air Chathams and Air New Zealand have been informed and agencies are working with the airlines to manage the new arrangements. Air New Zealand flights will continue but will reduce in frequency and only carry passengers who are residents or essential staff.
Anyone travelling to Norfolk Island from the mainland, whether they have travelled overseas or remained in Australia, is required to self-isolate for the specified 14-day period on their arrival to Norfolk Island.
Medical evacuation flights are exempt from travel restrictions.
Please see this fact sheet for further information and guidelines for self-isolation.
I understand that the impact to the community will be significant and I will continue conversations with the Australian Government in relation to the Government's economic response to COVID-19, including the recently announced $17.6 billion stimulus package.
Businesses and individuals on Norfolk Island will have access to a range of measures designed to protect the economy, maintain confidence and keep people in jobs.
Within this package, $1 billion has been set aside to support regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected, including those that are heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.
Coronavirus can lead to respiratory illness. Please follow the health advice provided by the Australian Government Department of Health and the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Services (NIHRACS).
If you have respiratory illness symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and are concerned you may have been exposed to coronavirus, then isolate yourself and call NIHRACS to discuss your circumstances—do not attend the health service without calling.
I continue to work with Australian Government agencies, Emergency Management Norfolk Island (EMNI), the Council and NIHRACS to ensure appropriate local response plans for coronavirus. For further information, see www.health.gov.au or phone the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
Decisions regarding the definition of ‘essential staff’ will be made by the Incident Management Team.
If you have questions or require further information, please contact my Office on 22152.
Administrator of Norfolk Island
17 March 2020