Australia’s ban on international departures, which was due to run from 18 March to 17 June, has been quietly extended to 17 September.

According to The Australian, the policy limiting transit to and from Australia was extended on 15 May for a further three months, without any fanfare or widespread coverage.

Travel Weekly has contacted Smartraveller and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for comment.

However, a Department of Health spokesman told The Australian the move would not prevent the proposed trans-Tasman travel bubble or partnerships with other nations that have control of their coronavirus cases.

“The human biosecurity emergency is currently in force until September 17, 2020 – it was extended on May 15, 2020 for a further three months to ensure the Australian government continues to have an appropriate range of powers available to manage the ongoing pandemic response,” the spokesman said.

“The outgoing travel restriction on Australian citizens and permanent residents is currently in effect for the duration of the emergency period.

“Amending these restrictions – for example, to enable travel to NZ – is a decision for both governments that will be made in due course, when the public health risk is ­assessed as being sufficiently safe. The Australian and New Zealand governments continue to work together on this matter.”

The extension could spell good news for travellers, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.

According to The Australian’s report, many travel insurance policies do not allow claims for COVID-19, with fine print excluding either pandemics or risks known when the policies were taken out.

However, some policies allow those who booked before the virus became public knowledge to make a claim if the ­period of their travel coincides with a forced government travel ban.

These generally occur in those who purchased policies before late January, with the exact relevant date varying between different insurers, the outlet reported.

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