Australia Will Start Charging For 14-Day Quarantine

Filed Under: Travel

Australian taxpayers will no longer be footing the bill for those international travelers arriving in Australia.

Australia’s 14-day quarantine requirement

As part of its strategy to minimize the spread of coronavirus, Australia has more or less closed its borders. Only citizens and residents are currently allowed to travel to the country, and passengers arriving on international flights are subjected to a 14-day quarantine.

Up until now passengers haven’t been charged for the 14-day quarantine, meaning that those returning to Australia were essentially getting free accommodation and food for two weeks. Of course most people presumably don’t actually want to quarantine, but at least you weren’t out of pocket anything for it…

Passengers arriving in Australia have to undergo a 14-day quarantine

Australia will start passing on cost of quarantine to travelers

New South Wales, which is home to Sydney Airport, will begin charging passengers 3,000 AUD (~2,085 USD) for their 14-day quarantine.

Additional occupants will be charged at lower rates, with additional adults costing 1,000 AUD each, additional children costing 500 AUD each, and children under three incurring no additional cost.

Here’s how this will be implemented:

  • This will apply for arrivals as of Saturday, July 18, 2020
  • Those who purchased tickets prior to July 13, 2020, still won’t have to pay
  • Travelers will be invoiced at the end of their stay, and will have to pay within 30 days
  • There’s no registration required, but rather you’ll automatically be directed to a hotel upon arrival
  • People with financial hardship may apply for a payment plan, while those with significant hardship may receive a reduced fee

As the decision is described, the New South Wales government has so far spent 65 million AUD on quarantine accommodations to house international travelers returning to Australia since March, which has covered over 35,000 travelers. The goal is for the quarantine fee to reduce the financial burden of coronavirus on taxpayers.

As Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, Australians have had three to four months to think about what they want to do, so at this point it’s no longer about Australians returning home who may have been stuck abroad, unlike at the beginning.

Sydney is currently limiting airlines to carrying a total of 450 international passengers per day to Sydney, and airlines are even limited to carrying 50 passengers per flight.

The 14-day quarantine will now cost 3,000 AUD

Bottom line

Starting in about a week, Australia will charge 3,000 AUD for the 14-day quarantine required for arriving international travelers. I can see both sides of the argument. On the one hand, it doesn’t seem like Australian taxpayers should have to foot the bill for this. On the other hand, no one wants to go into a 14-day quarantine in a facility, and ultimately this is for the protection of all Australians.

What do you make of the decision for Australia to start charging for the 14-day quarantine?

  1. So i could in theory show up in Australia and get a 14 day free hotel stay with food and then go home the next day? My tickets were booked last year.

    Hoping things change, but talk about out the box thinking hehe!

  2. Quarantine initially started out at home for returning travellers but people where landing and travelling domestically interstate and spreading covid, So the government then shifted to mandatory hotel quarantine (to manage community transmissions more effectively) now this About charging people has been on the cards for a while so after 3 months of grace and all the mercy flights they did to re-patriate citizens and residents, Now is not the time to be travelling for leisure and so forth as our government already advised everyone to come home if they could. So now I’d say it’s fine for them to start charging it out as a bill to release the burden off of the working taxpayers that have helped keep the economy somewhat afloat.

  3. Well, Ben, if Florida started charging for quarantines, you wouldnt state that the USA is charging for them. Just get your facts straight. Australia has a federal system of government like the USA were the individual states have power over many matters..

  4. Their country, their rules. It’s their prerogative to flatten their tourism industry in exchange for controlling the pandemic. They obviously have their priorities. It’s a big world, and traveling isn’t necessarily the most important thing to do right now.

  5. @Tom – lets be real here. Most Americans probably can’t name a single Australian state, so to reference it as Australia and then go into more detail in the text is close enough.

  6. Will the guards still be providing their services to the “guests” on a complimentary basis?

  7. What’s the penalty for refusing to pay? It is unbelievable that people will easily pay this money.

    Given that there’s zero penalty for non payment, unless the govt is willing to jail and imprison the nonpayers, no one will pay.

  8. I guess the important questions are whether the stay qualifies for hotel points, whether status gives a room upgrade and access to the lounge?

  9. I think @Tom actually has a point. This article really should say New South Wales. Queensland, for example, has been charging for quarantine since July 1.

  10. Tourism can open if strong protocols are put in place upon arrival. On arrival testing, quarantine until results and then if negative allowed to go about exploring the country. Social distancing, masks in public, frequent washing of hands still apply. Knowing that a negative test atleast is more then most people have had done and are walking around can start to ensure life slowly returns to normal. Contract tracing through apps can be put in play to ensure the controlling of the pandemic further

    Economies need to open more because the cost born to the countries of the world is a 15 to 20 year rebuild. This isn’t the first or last pandemic to be a global killer.

  11. @yourcommiedad

    China would be lucky to get one missile launched before they had multiple nuclear bombs dropped on them from all sides of their country. I don’t think China wants to play that game.

  12. Just dropping by, and mentioning 15299 new infections in a single day!
    I think you can call Florida a real Hotspot for sure!
    So going back to the topic, why do we think Covid-19 test and 14 days quarantine are important? Exactly, blame those who would not follow the health procedures and social distancing!
    Before we trash the Europeans and Asians about Covid-19, just look around your states and how it is getting worst and understand why nobody wants a single American come to their country.

  13. I’m disgusted by this.

    As a New Zealander, living and working abroad, I had to think hard about the decision of staying put in March – when New Zealand went into lockdown – or trying to move heaven and earth to get back.

    First of all, we were given little to no time to try and uproot (pack up, resign from jobs, terminate rental agreements, say goodbye to friends, find flights etc.) and then risk the possibility of returning home infected with corona.

    Most people didn’t want to return out of fear of adding burden to the country and loved ones. And based on many government’s reactions?
    We were under the impression things would be back to normal very quickly, so it made sense to sit tight.

    Now…when many of us have the desire/possibility of returning after things have calmed down (somewhat) and more flights are available?
    We are told that we will have to (possibly) pay to be in quarantine!!

    And if we can provide a negative test? Will we still have to pay?! It doesn’t seem right to place this additional financial difficulty on citizens/residents.

  14. Why not just force people to download a surveillance app, check in daily on that app, and let them quarantine at home?

  15. FYI Victoria (Melbourne) has not confirmed charging. Whilst we are not currently accepting flights, we will again at some point. Our premier stated that after legal advice he had decided not to charge. That may of course change.

  16. It is not just the state of NSW. 3 states so far and the others are considering it too.

    The $3000 is also imposed upon movemet between some states. EG. Queensland from Victoria. So my son interstate would pay to visit me. And require 2 extra weeks off work to quarantine.

    Plus both Australian airlines have cancelled all international flights.

    Millions of Australian residents therefor no longer have the right to see family interstate or overseas.

  17. People are not responsible enough, can leave their phones at hime and violate quarantine, however gps ankle bracelets might work.

  18. Australia is still severely limiting its arrivals so it’s not like tourists have the option of paying for the quarantine and entering.

    Making essential travelers pay this seems a bit unfair but it’s their state/country.

  19. @Aussie LOL, most Americans don’t even know where Australia actually is, what to say name of states or regions of it.

  20. Hold on, so who are these people arriving in Australia internationally? I thought Australia was closed to international travel.

  21. The Northern Territory has its own quarantine rules. People trying to get to Darwin or Alice Springs face a double quarantine. In Sydney, you are not even given a room key, so they know if you ventured outside your room. There are guards in hallways, some military. I’ve heard as much as $60,000AUD fine for breaking quarantine. Most downtown hotels don’t have balconies/patios, or even windows that open, so you can’t even get fresh air for two weeks. The whole thing is just absurd.

  22. I see two constitutional issues with this:

    1) Under the Australian constitution, immigration is a federal matter. Why do the states have to shoulder the cost of quarantine when it’s a federal decision?

    2) Can the Australian government legally stop their own citizens from returning? Secondly, it would be interesting to see the legality of the Australian government chase their own citizens who may not have the means to pay for quarantine.

  23. Further to my comment above – the Australian border is policed by the AFP (Australian Federal Police), and not the respective state & territory police forces.

  24. It’s ridiculous that some people have not been able to travel home due to circumstance of employment and flights available to get home and we do not have an option to self isolate within our own home?! Just told where to stay and that we have to pay

  25. Only Australian citizens, permanent residents and those entering for compassionate reasons (and have received an exemption from Australian Border Force) are eligible to get on a flight to Australia.

    Personally as an Australian I am dismayed at the charging of the hotels considering some of the circumstances people are going through in order to have to or be able to get home to Australia.

  26. Why should Australia have to foot the bill when their borders are closed?
    Unless you are an Australian Citizen with a fixed address to go to… one else should be entering the country except for “essential” workers.

  27. Lucky it’s AUD not USD. Only Australian citizens and Perm residents and a few other exceptions are allowed in, anyone can leave and as such our population has dropped by about 200,000 since the borders closed. The flights are certainly full on departure. Remember you may have the right to travel but it dosen’t give you the right to carry a deadly disease and infect others.

  28. Sounds like a poor plan, no matter who pays for it.

    A better idea would be to require a lab test before boarding plane in the origin country (negative PCR for active infection, or positive antibody for past infection). Then do a PCR swab for infection on arrival, keep passengers detained for two days for results to come back, or just cut them loose if they had antibodies already.

  29. I am all for charging for quarantine. I also hope Australia now lets residents and citizens leave Australia now. I have no problem having a choice to leave Australia to see my family overseas and pay the $3,000 for the quarantine upon return, At least that is a choice I could make. Currently, Australian residents and citizens have no choice but to be seperated from their families.

  30. Duncan:

    “Anyone can leave” is not actually true. If you are normally a resident of Australia, you CANNOT leave without applying for permission to do so. There are many Australians who are unable to leave to return to their homes & family overseas, because they are considered a resident of Australia.

    This was done (I believe), so that people couldn’t leave for a temporary visit, and then expect to be granted re-entry (& therefore going into quarantine on the taxpayer’s dollar).

  31. If I could pay to quarantine and then travel freely around Australia, it would be a good option unless cases continue to increase. I’m currently in Mexico and it is just slightly better than the US. Since I retired I normally spend 6 to 9 months per year traveling and the current situation is very depressing. The options currently available are very limited and quite frankly I do not feel comfortable coming from a very highly infected country to one with few or no cases unless they quarantine upon arrival. I love French Polynesia but I cannot help but think it is a disaster just waiting to happen. They will allow anyone to visit who has tested negative up to three days prior to the flight. Four days after arrival you are required to take another test. What if you test positive? You could have infected many others in those four days, especially if you are staying at a large resort.
    Mexico pretended to have a shutdown for two months but the economy has reopened to a great extent. In Nuevo Leon where I’m staying they permit restaurants to open during the week but they must be closed on weekends except for take out. What’s the point? I guess they figure during the week, you have temporary immunity just like the protesters in the US have had! So for now, I am just waiting it out and hoping that cases will drop like they have in Sweden (surprisingly their new cases and deaths have dropped dramatically without a complete shutdown).

  32. Quarantine is the only thing that works in keeping the virus out.

    PCR tests (and any other test) fail to pick up people who have only just caught the virus and who are not yet going to test positive. That’s why in Quarantine everyone has to be swabbed on Day 3 and Day 10 or 11.

    For countries like Australia or even places like Hawai’i or Tahiti which have largely kept community virus transmission in check, reliance on negative tests without supervised quarantine would mean that the virus will continue to enter the community from overseas.

    Australia’s borders are closed to foreigners: this program is to ensure that returning residents don’t bring the virus into the community.

    We have a ban on exiting the country, and it’s reasonable to expect anyone who has delayed their return home this late to pay for their quarantine themselves.

  33. I think it’s totally fair – All returning residents have had more than ample time to return – no longer something taxpayers should be subsidizing

  34. 100% support for the Australian government!
    The last thing island nations want (well, there’s a continent for Australia) is someone importing nasty stuff from abroad. PCR tests are not 100% accurate.
    If you want to leave, fine, but don’t bother the government for arranging further repatriation flights.

  35. Fo a cost of AUD 50 million ( 35 USD), it has been money well spent; it has prevented far costlier tracing and treatment in the community. The early introduction of the scheme ( around March 15th) has been a key factor in the (relative) success.

  36. @Me (and some others) are 100% correct.
    Unless you are an Australian resident or permanent resident, there is no entry for anyone else so no free hotel stay, dummies.
    Returnees are being put up in nice hotels, and agreements have been reached with managements for concessional rates. Since there is no international travel allowed, and almost no interstate at the moment too, the hotels are grateful for any business.

  37. Not an expert here but I think a better solution is to have the government pay but only for 3 star hotels. For more luxury like 4 star or 5 star hotels, I think it’s reasonable to ask the person choosing to live in luxury for 14 days to foot the bill.

  38. Dear god @Joey! If it’s a 14 day lockdown (no visits to pool, bars, restaurants etc) it would be inhuman to be confined to a standard ibis room or the like, irrespective of who’s paying! If it’s not IC or better, I’m not going.

  39. Currently permitted entry into Australia is very strict and narrow: Citizens, permanent residents, foreign military on mission to Australia (e.g. U.S., NZ, UK, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, France), diplomatic corps accredited to Australia. So if you are not in that category just as best not attempt to buy and board one of the few international flights into Australia. Arrival numbers per day is also very limited in order to properly control and manage the quarantine protocols. It’s doubtful airlines are not strictly looking at passenger documents – otherwise these carriers are on the hook for expenses once they land in Australia and risk fines for bringing in unauthorized persons – especially if they have Covid. Also, Qantas has blocked bookings through March 28, 2021 for most of their international flights.

  40. P.S.: Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison does not want what happened in New Zealand. N.Z. went 28 days without a new case of Covid. Then two British women coming into Auckland on a compassionate trip to visit a dying relative were not correctly processed, tested, quarantined. It turned out these two had Covid. N. Zealanders, politicians were outraged. They had to track down over 100 people that the two might have come in contact with. The N.Z. Prime Minister put the N.Z. Defence Force (the Army) in charge at the airports. It was bungled and Scott Morrison and Australia doesn’t want the same.

  41. A trip down under.
    A British tourist arrived at an airport in Australia. He went to speak with the customs guy sitting behind the desk.

    Customs: Passport?

    Tourist: Here you go.

    Customs: Thank you. Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?

    Tourist: No, I didn’t think that was a requirement.

  42. To Aussie up there.

    Let’s be real. Most of us know where NSW and Victoria and a couple of other territories are. Australia has the same population as Florida, and I am pretty sure you’d be hard pressed to name counties in Florida. P.S., the US wins Nobel Prizes at 2.5 the rate of Australia per capita.

  43. @AK
    Nobel Prize winners per capita? Are you serious? In that case, The Faroe Islands outdoes the USA 20 fold, Saint Lucia 10x. It’s utterly meaningless.
    I don’t think anyone is suggesting Americans are stupid but rather that they’re challenged when it comes to awareness of other countries ( frequent flyers excluded, by definition having an interest in the rest of the world)

  44. What about Aussie expats who lose their jobs, and hence their visa? Where will they go? Assume most of them had planned to ride out the storm at their present location, but are not able to anymore.

  45. @Me, could you have been any more Australian with your response? It made me laugh to read in amongst all the others. It’s tough here right now (I’m in Melbourne in lockdown) and I don’t know how I feel about the NSW Govt charging for quarantine, but I’m very glad our Govt is doing their best trying to keep us safe. Beats pretending COVID-19 isn’t a problem like some governments….

  46. South Australia announced on Monday that the same arrangements and prices would apply from next Saturday. The National Cabinet (the PM and the state and territory first ministers) agreed on Friday that charging returning pax would become the standard procedure.

  47. @Wilhelm – not sure whether you should be trying to make this a constitutional issue, because it has zero relevance to your points.

    1. Immigration is federal. However, no one is stopped from entering the country. Once processed, evidently at some point you are in a state or territory and are covered under the powers of the relevant health directions.

    2) The Australian government is not stopping it’s citizens from returning.

    Chasing debt from citizens would be no different to what governments already do for a whole range of things.

    3. The AFP is not responsible for the border. The Border Force is.

    In any case, most of this stuff is getting done with the state and federal governments working together.

  48. The issue is $3,000 for a 14-day stay equates to a cost of $214 per day. That is not even what most of the participating hotels would charge a guest during an ordinary stay, with access to full facilities, daily cleaning and the ability to utilise the services the hotel offers.

    The food being provided by these venues during the quarantine period is nothing short of inedible and is the equivalent of a United Airlines lounge buffet in terms of cost to produce.

    Australia’s public have been shocked into fear over this virus and as a result common sense, compassion and any sensible long-term strategy for dealing with this have gone out the window. This is yet another example in a long list.

  49. I am not a citizen of Australia (USA) but found these comments very interesting. I have a Visa and Border Force approval and will try again to fly to Australia this weekend. It is my choice and i assumed that i would pay for the Quarantine hotel and not the Australian Government or its citizens. Direct flights from Hawaii have been suspended and I face a 23 and a half hour flight via San Francisco. I will take a COVID test before departing as i wish everyone should for the protection of others. I’ll let you know what happens and my experience.

  50. Why dont they do 48 hours isolation followed by swab test and get definitive results rather than this 14 day rubbish, for working offshore we have 48 hours isolation followed by a test results in 6 hours and allowed to go to work the virus has never appeared offshore since testing and isolation began, it has picked up many carriers of the virus before they were allowed to mix with other workers same should go for immigration you should be able to opt for a test

  51. Can anyone confirm this statement below…..

    “Those who purchased flight tickets prior to July 13, 2020, still won’t have to pay for quarantine accomodation when arriving”

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