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Quarantine and COVID-19 Testing for International Air Crew

Quarantine and COVID-19 Testing for International Air Crew Direction (No. 9)

What’s changed from 6pm AEST 20 March 2021

  • New Zealand is now a safe travel zone country for Queensland.
  • Air crew from New Zealand who travel to Australia on a quarantine free flight can come to Queensland without needing to quarantine.
  • There are no surveillance testing requirements for air crew arriving on quarantine free flights from New Zealand. However, if you are a crew member on a quarantine free flight from a safe travel zone country and arrive in Queensland with COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19 and isolate until you receive a negative test result.

Overview

Quarantine for air crew

To protect the health of Queenslanders, international air crew must quarantine for 14 days or until their next international work voyage or crew only flight (whichever is shorter). The only exception is air crew arriving from safe travel zone countries on a quarantine free flight – these crew are not required to quarantine.

Currently New Zealand is a safe travel zone country for Queensland.

Queensland-based air crew and Australian Defence Force air crew

Queensland-based air crew from an approved airline and Australian Defence Force air crew are allowed to quarantine at their home residence if they:

  • don’t live with a designated worker
  • can comply with the Operational Guidelines for International Air Crew
  • arrive in Queensland as an active member of the operating crew for an inbound flight or have been identified as a member of positioning crew and can provide evidence
  • have not been told by an emergency officer to quarantine elsewhere
  • use private transport to travel directly to their residence without stopping
  • live within a safe 2 hour driving distance from their port of arrival
  • travel to and from their residence in an ambulance, airline arranged transport, private vehicle or an emergency services vehicle when permitted to leave.

Airlines must use a compliance plan that details how their Queensland-based air crew will comply with home quarantine requirements, surveillance testing and other relevant Public Health Directions, and be able to provide the plan if requested by an emergency officer.

Air crew completing quarantine in government arranged accommodation

Air crew completing quarantine in government arranged accommodation must:

  • only open the door to their room for a permitted purpose if everyone inside is wearing a surgical face mask
  • travel in an ambulance if leaving quarantine for medical care and returning to quarantine after care has been received
  • travel in an emergency services vehicle or transport arranged by an airline if leaving quarantine for any other allowed purpose.

All air crew

Upon arriving in Queensland from overseas, all air crew must:

  • quarantine in their nominated premises for 14 days or until their next international voyage.
  • not leave the premises for 14 days, until their next international work voyage or domestic crew-only flight to travel interstate to board their next international work voyage, except:
    • for essential medical care
    • to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
    • in an emergency situation
    • as permitted by an emergency officer
    • to undertake a COVID-19 test in accordance with their employer’s arrangements for testing
    • for Queensland-based air crew to carry out face-to-face recurring, mandatory training and assessment to ensure they continue to meet their regulatory requirements.

Air crew arriving in Queensland from overseas can travel on a domestic crew-only flight (no passengers) if they are immediately departing on an outbound international voyage on arrival.

Air crew arriving in Queensland from overseas on a freight or ferry flight (transporting freight and essential crew only where no new crew members have boarded the aircraft overseas) are allowed to take a freight on-flight to another destination if they:

  • provide written confirmation, from their employer, that they travelled on a freight or ferry flight
  • can confirm they did not leave the confines of the airport as part of their freight or ferry flight
  • provide written confirmation from an airline operator that the other state or territory has been notified of and accepted the arrival of the freight or ferry flight.

Testing for air crew

All air crew arriving in Queensland from overseas must be given a COVID-19 test as soon as a test can be made available unless they can provide a negative COVID-19 test result undertaken in Australia in the last 7 days. After the first test, testing must be repeated on a rolling 7 day cycle until the crew member leaves for their next international work voyage or has been in Australia for 14 days, whichever is shorter.

Airlines must keep records of surveillance testing for air crew and provide them to an emergency officer if requested.

Air crew can leave Australia on their next work voyage while waiting for a test result, if they don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms.

As air crew, if you develop COVID-19 symptoms you must:

  • get medical attention immediately
  • be tested for COVID-19
  • isolate until you receive a negative test result and have no symptoms
  • follow any other requirements set by your employer airline.

There are no surveillance testing requirements for air crew arriving on quarantine free flights from safe travel zone countries. However, if you are a crew member on a quarantine free flight from a safe travel zone country and arrive in Queensland with COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19 and isolate until you receive a negative test result.

Currently New Zealand is a safe travel zone country for Queensland.

Queensland-based air crew

All airlines must arrange and document their rolling 7 day COVID-19 surveillance testing for all Queensland-based air crew quarantining at their home.

International air crew (based overseas or interstate)

International air crew will be tested in government arranged accommodation on arrival with testing facilitated by Queensland Health

Queensland International Arrivals Registration

All air crew who have been overseas in the last 14 days prior to arriving in Queensland, must complete a Queensland International Arrivals Registration.

You don’t have to complete a registration if you arrived in Queensland on a quarantine free flight from a Queensland safe travel zone country.

For full details read the Quarantine and COVID-19 Testing for International Air Crew Direction (No. 9)

Questions and answers about this direction

Questions about air crew quarantine

What air crew are required to quarantine?

Air crew arriving in Queensland who have been overseas in the last 14 days including all pilots, cabin crew and crew performing essential safety and maintenance functions.

Domestic air crew who in the last 14 days have travelled with crew who have been overseas in the last 14 days must also quarantine on arrival in Queensland.

Air crew arriving on a quarantine-free flight from a Queensland safe travel zone country are not required to quarantine.

Currently New Zealand is a safe travel zone country for Queensland.

What are the screening questions which may be asked on arrival to Queensland?

An emergency officer may require any person arriving in Queensland from overseas, including air crew arriving on a quarantine free flight, to answer questions or provide evidence about:

  1. whether the person has symptoms consistent with COVID-19
  2. whether they have been knowingly exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  3. their name
  4. their date of birth
  5. their phone number while in Australia
  6. their intended address while in Australia
  7. their email address
  8. their flight number
  9. their flight seat number
  10. the places the person has been in the last 14 days before arriving in Queensland.

Can I travel on a domestic flight after I arrive?

Air crew arriving in Queensland from overseas can travel on a domestic crew only flight (no passengers) if they are immediately departing on an outbound international voyage on arrival to another state or territory.

Air crew arriving on a quarantine free flight from a Queensland safe travel zone country are allowed to on-flight domestically.

If I arrive on a freight or ferry flight, can I travel on to another destination?

Air crew arriving in Queensland from overseas on a freight or ferry flight can take a freight or ferry flight onto another destination if they:

  • provide written confirmation of travel on a freight or ferry flight to an emergency officer
  • provide written confirmation from an airline operator that the other state or territory has been notified of and accepted the arrival of a freight or ferry flight
  • did not leave the confines of the airport and had no contact with the community.

A freight or ferry flight means a flight that is transporting freight and essential crew only, where no new members have boarded the aircraft overseas.

If I arrive on a quarantine free flight and haven’t been outside a Queensland safe travel zone country in the past 14 days, do I need to quarantine?

Currently New Zealand is a safe travel zone country for Queensland.

If air crew arrive on a quarantine free flight into another state or territory, they will have to quarantine for 14 days or until their next international voyage or crew only flight (whichever is shorter) when they enter Queensland.

Do domestic pilots flying crew only flights need to complete quarantine when they arrive in Queensland?

No. Domestic pilots on crew only flights with Queensland-based, Australian Defence Force and international air crew do not have to quarantine in Queensland if the pilot:

  • remains in the cockpit throughout the flight, unless they are using the restroom
  • has access to a dedicated restroom that is not used by anyone else on board the flight
  • remains separate from the repositioning international air crew:
    • during travel to an airport to board the flight
    • in the cabin for the duration of the flight
    • when embarking and disembarking the aircraft.

What are the travel restrictions for air crew in quarantine?

#travel-restrictions

For air crew completing quarantine in government arranged accommodation:

  • Airlines must provide air crew with transport to their government arranged quarantine.
  • Air crew can only leave quarantine for medical care at a hospital, in an emergency situation, or to depart on their next international work voyage or crew only flight.
  • Travel when allowed to leave quarantine for medical care at a hospital must be in an ambulance.
  • Travel when allowed to leave quarantine for another permitted purpose must be in an ambulance, emergency services vehicle or transport arranged by an airline.

For air crew completing quarantine at home:

  • Air crew can only leave home quarantine for medical care at a hospital, in an emergency situation, to carry out mandatory face-to-face training and assessment or to depart on their next international work voyage or crew only flight.
  • Travel when allowed to leave quarantine for medical care at a hospital must be in an ambulance.
  • Travel when allowed to leave quarantine for another permitted purpose must be in an ambulance, emergency services vehicle, transport arranged by an airline or in a private vehicle in line with the Operational Guidelines for International Air Crew.

If I am currently in mandatory quarantine due to entering from a country that has since become a safe travel zone country for Queensland, can I leave quarantine?

If you entered Queensland from a location that has since been declared a Queensland safe travel zone country you can leave quarantine.

You must complete the following before you can leave quarantine:

  • declare in writing that you haven’t been in a country that is not a safe travel zone country in the last 14 days
  • provide your contact details and an address where you’ll be residing in Queensland
  • have a negative COVID-19 test while in quarantine.

Questions about air crew quarantine in government arranged accommodation

Is quarantine in government arranged accommodation for all overseas air crew or just international airlines?

All overseas air crew for both international and Australian airlines will be required to quarantine in government arranged accommodation if they have been overseas in the last 14 days and do not have a primary place of residence in Queensland. The only exception is air crew arriving on a quarantine-free flight from a Queensland safe travel zone country.

Can I open the door of my quarantine room?

You can only open the door to your room for a permitted purpose if everyone inside is wearing a surgical face mask. For example:

  • collect food, laundry or other items left at your door
  • place laundry, rubbish or other items directly outside your door for collection
  • in an emergency situation
  • for safety reasons (to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm)
  • for essential medical care, including a COVID-19 test
  • as otherwise required or permitted under a direction given to you by a relevant authority.

Who doesn't have to wear a face mask in quarantine?

There are some exceptions to wearing a face mask when opening the door to your quarantine room. These exceptions include:

  • in an emergency situation
  • for safety reasons (to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm)
  • anyone who has a medical condition or disability that may be made worse by wearing a mask – for example, a person who has breathing difficulties, a serious skin condition on their face, a mental health condition or psychological impacts from experienced trauma
  • as otherwise required or permitted under a direction given to you by a relevant authority.

What sort of face mask can I wear?

You can wear a single use surgical mask with a minimum level 1 barrier protection (Australian Standard) that covers your nose and mouth.

You cannot wear a scarf, bandana or face shield.

Can I leave the accommodation during my 14 day quarantine period?

No. You must not leave government arranged accommodation for 14 days or until your next international work voyage or crew only flight, except:

  • in an emergency situation
  • for safety reasons (to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm)
  • for essential medical care at a hospital, if allowed by the authority
  • to have a COVID-19 test
  • as otherwise required or permitted under a direction given to you by a public health emergency officer.

If I need to leave quarantine for an essential reason, how do I get to my destination?

If leaving quarantine for medical care at a hospital, you must travel in an ambulance.

If leaving quarantine for any other allowed purpose, you must travel in an emergency services vehicle or transport arranged by an airline operator.

Questions about air crew quarantining at home

Who can quarantine at home?

Queensland-based air crew from an approved airline and Australian Defence Force air crew are allowed to quarantine at their home residence if they:

  • don’t live with a designated worker
  • can comply with the Operational Guidelines for International Air Crew
  • arrive in Queensland as an active member of the operating crew for an inbound flight or have been identified as a member of positioning crew
  • have not been told by an emergency officer to quarantine elsewhere
  • use private transport to travel directly to their residence without stopping
  • live within a safe 2 hour driving distance from their port of arrival
  • travel to and from their residence in an ambulance, airline arranged transport, private vehicle or an emergency services vehicle when permitted to leave.

Airlines must use a compliance plan that details how their Queensland-based air crew will comply with home quarantine requirements, surveillance testing and other relevant Public Health Directions, and be able to provide the plan if requested by an emergency officer.

If preferred, Queensland-based air crew can also quarantine in government arranged accommodation.

All other international air crew must quarantine in government arranged accommodation.

Approved airlines are listed in a Schedule in the Quarantine and COVID-19 Testing for International Air Crew Direction.

Who is classed as Queensland-based air crew?

Queensland-based air crew must have their primary place of residence in Queensland and be one of the following, an:

  • air crew member actively servicing an inbound flight to Australia
  • off-shift air crew member who can provide evidence they are a member of positioning crew
  • aeromedical services crew member providing patient transport or emergency medical care to a patient
  • off-shift aeromedical services crew member travelling as a passenger on an aircraft to reposition to commence duty in Australia.

Ground crew staff are not included in the definition of Queensland-based air crew unless they are actively servicing an inbound flight to Australia.

Who is considered a member of positioning crew? / What evidence do members of positioning crew need to show?

A member of positioning crew is a person who has documentary evidence of the flight they will be leaving Australia on, and who are identified:

Anyone entering Queensland to undertake mandatory regulatory training cannot be identified as a member of positioning crew.

Who is a designated worker? / Why can’t I quarantine at home if I live with a designated worker?

#designated-worker

To protect vulnerable Queenslanders, you cannot quarantine at home if you live with a designated worker. If you live with a designated worker you will have to quarantine in government arranged accommodation.

The following people are considered designated workers:

  • people working as:
    • a registered health practitioners
    • an NDIS service providers
  • employees, contractors and volunteers of:
    • hospitals
    • private health facilities
    • multi-purpose services
    • residential aged care facilities
    • disability accommodation services
    • corrective service facilities
    • detention centres.

I have a home in Queensland, can my colleagues quarantine with me?

No. Queensland-based air crew who are quarantining in their home can only do this with people who normally live in their household, or alone.

How should I quarantine if I live with other people?

Air crew cannot quarantine at home if a member of the household is a designated worker.

If you live with other people who are not designated workers, they will not have to quarantine.

Air crew who can quarantine at home must as much as possible:

  • stay in their own room
  • use a separate bathroom or clean the bathroom each time they use it
  • stay 1.5 metres away from others
  • wear a face mask when moving through shared spaces in the house (e.g. when using the bathroom) and stay at least 1.5 meters away from other people.
  • have the house regularly cleaned by someone they live with, who should pay attention to frequently touched items such as door handles, phones and remote controls.

Air crew who can quarantine at home must not:

  • mix or mingle with the people they live with
  • enter common areas
  • prepare food for other people
  • share household items.

Everyone in the household must:

  • get tested if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild
  • wash their hands often, using soap and water or hand sanitiser
  • sneeze or cough into their arm or a tissue, then put the tissue in the bin
  • practice physical distancing
  • avoid sharing household items.

Can I leave my house during my 14 day quarantine period?

No. You must not leave your home for 14 days or until your next international work voyage or crew only flight, except:

  • in an emergency situation
  • for safety reasons (to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm)
  • for essential medical care at a hospital
  • to have a COVID-19 test
  • to complete mandatory face-to-face training and assessment to meet regulatory requirements to operate aircraft or ensure the safety of flights
  • to complete mandatory training and assessment as required by the Australian Defence Force
  • as otherwise required or permitted under a direction given to you by an emergency officer.

If I need to leave home quarantine for an essential reason, how do I get to my destination?

If leaving quarantine for medical care at a hospital, you must travel in an ambulance.

If leaving home quarantine for any other allowed purpose, you must travel in an emergency services vehicle, private vehicle or airline operator arranged transport.

What should I do if I travel to and from home quarantine in a private vehicle?

When travelling to and from quarantine you must:

  • travel home by the most direct route without stopping
  • wear a face mask at all times unless you are travelling by yourself
  • use hand sanitiser
  • not let anyone use your vehicle until it has been thoroughly cleaned, this includes cleaning all hard surfaces with disinfectant solutions maintained at an appropriate strength and used in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions
  • have the windows open instead of using air-conditioning where possible.

What training can Queensland-based air crew leave quarantine for?

Queensland-based air crew (including domestic crew) can leave quarantine to carry out mandatory training and assessment. This training must be required to be undertaken face-to-face within Queensland and is to ensure that air crew maintain licences to operate an aircraft or to ensure the safety of flights. For example, flight simulation training or the components of essential safety and security training.

Australian Defence Force air crew can carry out mandatory training and assessment as required by the Australian Defence Force.

Questions about air crew testing

If I have been tested for COVID-19 before entering Australia, do I still need to be tested?

Yes. Any COVID-19 test taken outside of Australia will not be accepted as part of surveillance testing requirements.

If I have been tested for COVID-19 in another state or territory within Australia, do I still need to be tested?

Air crew will not need to be tested on arrival to Queensland if they can provide evidence of a COVID-19 test result undertaken in Australia in the last 7 days.

Are there any testing requirements for air crew arriving in Queensland on a quarantine free flight from a Queensland safe travel zone country?

Air crew arriving on a quarantine free flight  from a Queensland safe travel zone country do not have to undertake surveillance testing.

Any crew member arriving in Queensland on a quarantine free flight with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should immediately get tested for COVID-19 in Queensland and isolate at their accommodation until they receive a negative result.

How should I get tested if I’m quarantining at home?

Where possible, airlines should arrange for your COVID-19 surveillance testing to happen at home.

When this is not possible, you must travel to your airline’s testing location. You must travel in a private vehicle, an emergency services vehicle or transport arranged by the airline.

Questions about the Queensland International Arrivals Registration

Who has to complete a Queensland International Arrivals registration?

If you have been overseas in the last 14 days prior to arriving in Queensland, you must complete a Queensland International Arrivals Registration.

You don’t have to complete a registration if you arrived in Queensland on a quarantine free flight from a Queensland safe travel zone country.

What is the Queensland International Arrivals Registration?

The Queensland International Arrivals Registration requires you to answer the following questions:

  • What is your name?
  • What is your date of birth?
  • What is your primary residential address in Australia?
  • What is your phone number?
  • What is your email address?
  • When will you arrive in Queensland?

You will need to provide evidence of your identity if asked – this could include your passport, driver licence or Medicare card.

Questions about exemptions

Can I be granted an exemption from the quarantine and/or testing requirements for air crew?

Exemptions may be granted on the basis of extreme exceptional circumstances by the Chief Health Officer. If an exemption is given, the person must comply with all conditions of the exemption.

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If you are seeking clarification on a Direction or have any questions, please call 134 COVID (13 42 68).

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