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June 25, 2020

What International Students in Australia should know about COVID-19

As you will be aware, Australia has introduced health and safety measures and travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

We understand this may be confusing if you’re commencing your studies, so read the below information to find out if you are impacted by the changes, and where you can go for support.

Will I be impacted?

Anyone hoping to travel to and from Australia will be impacted by the recent changes as the Australian Government announced that:

  • A travel ban will be placed on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming to Australia, effective from 9pm on Friday, 20 March 2020
  • all Australian and residents will be able to return and are required to self-isolate for 14 days
  • all Australians are advised to not travel overseas at this time. This is the highest advice level (level 4 of 4).

Information about Coronavirus is updated regularly, so it’s important to keep up to date with latest news from Australia.

For the latest information about the Coronavirus in Australia, visit these websites:

International students in Australia

All travellers to Australia from midnight, 15 March 2020 are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolating means you’re required to stay in your local accommodation.

You’ll need to avoid going out into public spaces such as restaurants, supermarkets, workplaces, universities and any other public places that you will come into contact with people. Additionally, avoid receiving visitors into your home or local accommodation.

If you need more information on self-isolation, get more details by downloading  the Isolation Guidance information sheet from the Department of Health website. If you need to use public transport (e.g. taxis, ride-hail services, train, buses and trams.), kindly follow the precautions listed in the public transport guide.

If you’re starting your studies during the time you’re required to self-isolate, contact your school or university to discuss your study options. Many universities have put in place measures to assist students who are required to self-isolate, such as delayed semester starts or online study options.

If you, or any friends and family start showing flu-like symptoms such as a cough, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath, it is important to contact your local doctor. You can also monitor your symptoms using the Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptom checker. Call before you visit and explain your symptoms and travel history to ensure they are prepared to receive you.

If you require immediate and urgent medical attention, you can call 000. Any ambulance and hospital fees will be covered by your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

These measures are put in place to limit the possibility of spreading the Coronavirus to the general population.

How do I get food and other essentials?

Ask others who are not in isolation to get food and other essentials for you. If you are new to the country and don’t know anyone who can help you, you can order your food and groceries online.

Food delivery and ordering apps

Menulog

Deliveroo

Uber Eats

Happy Cow (vegan and vegetarian)

Open table

Groceries

Coles

Woolworths

Will this impact my university start date?

If you’re enrolled in Semester 1 2020 and unable to begin classes due to the travel bans or the 14-day self-isolation, you’ll need to get in touch with your university or school as soon as possible to discuss your enrolment.

Many Australian universities have delayed their semester start dates or have put in place changes to assist international students who have been impacted by the recent travel bans.

We recommend you contact your university or school as soon as possible to discuss your possible study options or deferring your studies to start at a later date.

You can also check out the following websites for current advice and information that may assist you:

Curtin University

Federation University

Flinders University

Go8 Universities

Griffith University

La Trobe University

Macquarie University

Monash University

Queensland University of Technology

RMIT

Swinburne University

The Australian National University

The University of Adelaide

The University of Queensland

The University of Western Australia

University of Melbourne 

University of South Australia

University of Sydney

University of Technology Sydney

University of Wollongong

UNSW

Victoria University

Western Sydney University

Changes to student accommodation

If you have arranged for student accomodation and can’t travel into the country, then it’s vital you check in with your student accommodation about your next steps.

Some student accommodation providers may require you to provide additional information or may change or delay your accommodation arrangements.

Where can I go for support?

The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus presents an emotionally challenging situation for many international students. The spread of the virus may be causing you or your friends and family distress or anxiety, especially if you have loved ones in affected areas or have not been able to return home or to Australia because of the recent travel bans.

The Australian Government have created a dedicated and multi-lingual support service for international students. You can contact them via email or phone 1300 981 621 (8:00 am–8:00 pm AEDST Monday to Friday).

You can also visit the Australian Government Department of Education website to download the latest information, guides and FAQs for up-to-date general health and enrolment advice, where to access support services, and news on the latest immigration and border protection measures.

You can also access the links below:

Support for International Students affected by the Novel Coronavirus

Novel Coronavirus FAQ for International Students

Changes in international flight arrangements

If you have flight arrangements in place, your plans may be affected by travel bans or cancelled flights.

Many major airlines and countries are cancelling flights or restricting entry. If you have overseas travel plans, it’s important to regularly check your airline’s website or contact the airline directly for next steps and travel options at a later date.

Changes to IELTS testing

There are currently changes being made to IELTS testing. Visit the IELTS website to find out if the changes will affect you.

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