COVID-19 doctor travel updates – Australian border restrictions and conditions for doctors
Thank you for your continued commitment to support the healthcare of all Australian communities during this challenging time.
The current advice relating to travelling between Australia’s States and Territories is complex and ever-changing and we are working closely with our network of healthcare employers to provide you with the most up to date information.
1. Border restrictions
A number of Australian states and territories have closed their borders in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, however, health professionals are generally exempt from border restrictions.
Before you travel interstate for your next job, we recommend that you take with you as much information as possible to demonstrate your status as a doctor.
Your current ID
Your AHPRA card or a copy of your registration if you do not have access to the card
A printed copy of your Job Confirmation Letter with the hospital contact information
A copy of the Hospital Locum Contract
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
A printed copy of the self-quarantine exemption decision (TAS only)
State and Territory health boards and individual hospitals and practices are continually updating their policies. You may be subject to a risk assessment on arrival and in some cases may still be required to self-isolate.
All current COVID-19 hotspots are located in Victoria and currently, all of Victoria is a hotspot. View COVID-19 hotspots.
Flights: All Rex passengers must wear a face mask during the whole process - check-in, boarding, tarmac transfer, whilst onboard and disembarking. Passengers are to provide their own mask and those without can buy one at check-in. Passengers will be denied boarding if they refuse to wear a mask.
2. Additional travel and self-isolation information by State:
Northern Territory NT will grant quarantine-free entry to only essential workers from other parts of the country. Along with the travel documentation recommendations listed above, you need to carry a letter from the medical practice or hospital supporting that you are required in the community.
NT borders will open from 17 July, as the Territory becomes the first Australian jurisdiction to have clinically eradicated COVID-19. The decision to end mandatory quarantine means visitors will not need to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving.
Queensland Any person who has been in a declared hotspot within the last 14 days will have to complete 14 days quarantine in government arranged accommodation. (You will need to pay for the cost of your quarantine.)
have submitted a border exemption application, and received a response from CHO-COVID, should select the ‘Chief Health Officer exemption’ option in response to the first question on the border declaration, then complete the remaining questions.
indicate at the second question that they have been in a COVID-19 hotspot should then select ‘none of the above’ in response to the subsequent question (NB locums are not specialist workers).
A border declaration pass will be generated once all details are complete. The pass is valid for entry into Queensland within 7 days.
Interstate locums are still required to apply for an exemption to enter Queensland. The existing process of submitting an application to CHO-COVID@health.qld.gov.au will continue, however, applicants will only need to provide details relevant to the 14 days prior to entry to Queensland.
For more information about exemption in place for Medical Professionals, please click here.
In the interim, SA Health staff members returning from all states other than WA, Tasmania and NT and any Medical Practitioners travelling to SA to locum from all states other than WA, Tasmania and NT are required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to work.
Exemptions to this may be granted by the Chief Executive of the Department for Health and Wellbeing, where an assessment has been undertaken by the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) and a recommendation made that the exemption is warranted to maintain a critical service for business continuity.
This only applies to travellers arriving directly from these states and territory. Travellers arriving from all other states and territories will still be required to quarantine for 14 days.
The circumstances in other states and territories are being monitored, including whether there is the potential for easing of quarantine requirements for some states earlier.
TAS is considering re-opening borders on 24th July. All locum doctors due to travel to Tasmania must submit the “Individual Quarantine Exemption Application (Health Service)” application form. This must be submitted within a minimum of 24 hours of arrival or a maximum of 72 hours before arrival into Tasmania.
Applications submitted greater than 72 hours prior to arrival will be rejected, the form then needs to be re-completed and re-submitted within the 24-72-hour time frame.
Assessment of applications is on a case by case basis, taking into consideration where you have travelled over the past 14 days and where you have worked over the past 21 days. Consideration is also given to the role you have been recruited to, the essential nature of the role and the patient/client group you will see/treat. A Locum Medical Officer must not assume an exemption will be granted; therefore, they should not commence the journey to Tasmania without knowing the outcome of their application.
At this point in time, a Locum Medical Officer who arrives in Tasmania prior to an exemption being granted must complete the 14-day self-quarantine period or may return to mainland Australia.
At this point in time, if an exemption is granted the Locum Medical Officer will be able to commence at the work site as planned, however, please be aware:
Some restrictions may still be applied by the Chief Medical Officer, which may alter the way they are used to working. For example, a requirement to use PPE.
The exemption will only apply for the purposes of carrying out the health services identified in the application. If the Locum Medical Officer wishes (or is asked by the work unit) to do any additional or alternative services, they will need to reapply for an exemption for those new services.
When the Locum Medical Officer is not carrying out the approved work duties, they should uphold quarantine standards for 14 days from arrival in Tasmania including staying at their home base (hotel). They must not go into public places and only people who usually live with them should be in the home base (hotel).
Western Australia All doctors entering WA must apply for approval to enter WA as an exempt traveller.
Some regions in WA will grant quarantine-free entry to essential workers from other parts of the country, however, each region may risk-assess interstate medical practitioners according to the risk of prior COVID-19 exposure and certain clients might have their own requirements regardless of state/territory outlined border closures
If a doctor is a high risk, the health service may determine that self-isolation for 14 days is required.
Risk assessment examples:
Work completed in the previous 4 weeks (Emergency Department - GP practice – patients homes)
Where you’ve come from (Metro NSW - Metro SA - Rural QLD)
Work to be completed in WACHS and vulnerability of patients/community (Indigenous community - non-indigenous community)
Duration of contract
Effective midnight 31st March, further restrictions on travel will be introduced whereby Western Australians are not permitted to travel outside their designated region, exemptions will apply for those travelling for work purposes.
New South Wales
NSW will temporarily close the border with Victoria Wednesday 8th July in response to Melbourne’s coronavirus outbreak.
The border entry pass application for those coming from VIC will be on the Service NSW website.
As always, our team of medical recruitment experts is here to help.
If you have further questions about travelling as a doctor for work in Australia, please contact us.