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Pet travel in the time of novel coronavirus COVID-19

The worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has thrown people’s travel plans into disarray. It is an uncertain world out there with flight cancellations, travel advisories, travel bans and quarantines. Pet travel during COVID-19 is also under a cloud because of the unpredictability of international travel.

If you are planning to travel out of Australia with your pet, remember to follow the travel advisories for the country. For those flying into Australia with their pets, check for travel bans and quarantines before making travel plans. Most travel advisories hold good for both people and pet travel. If you are confused about whether you can fly with your pet or not, contact Petraveller for the latest information.

Pets and COVID-19

Pet parents around the world are naturally concerned about whether COVID-19 can be transmitted to their pets. The recent case of the Hong Kong dog that tested positive for COVID-19 has sparked worldwide concern among pet owners. However, experts believe that there has been no evidence that pet dogs and cats can be infected by the virus. Since this virus is new, and there is much to learn about the way it transmits and infects people, experts are advising caution when it comes to interacting with pets.

In Hong Kong, doctors have urged pet parents to refrain from kissing their pets to prevent the spread of the virus. The World Health Organisation has since assured pet owners that there is no reason to be concerned and that the chances of the virus passing between humans and pets are scarce.

Travel advisories for pets flying out of Australia

If you are planning to travel internationally with your pet, make sure the country is safe to go to before planning your travel. You may consider deferring all travel for a few weeks until the global pandemic has passed.

Though China was the original epicentre of the coronavirus infection, over the past few weeks, the number of positive cases outside China has surpassed those inside. The Australian government has issued do not travel advisories to countries with high incidence such as China, Iran, South Korea and Italy and this information is changing daily. Authorities have issued reconsider travel advisories for most countries in Europe, India, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States and Hong Kong.

Some countries have closed their borders for all non-essential travel, and your pets will not be able to travel to such countries.

  • India has cancelled all existing tourist visas until April 2020.
  • Sri Lanka has temporarily stopped the import of dogs and cats until further notice.
  • Most international airlines have suspended their operations into mainland China. Though there is no ban on the import of pets in China at this time, there are very few flights flying into the country.
  • The whole of Italy is under lockdown, and no pets can enter or fly out from the country until further notice.
  • Malaysia has placed flight restrictions on flights originating from China and Hong Kong.
  • The US has placed a travel ban on most European countries in the Schengen region. Travellers from these countries and their pets cannot travel to the United States.
  • United Arab Emirates has placed a ban on pets travelling from COVID-19 affected countries of China, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea and Italy. If your pet is flying to the UAE, make sure they do not transit through these countries.
  • Singapore has placed a ban on people and pets that have travelled to Iran, Korea, Italy and China.
  • Argentina has closed its borders to travellers from the US, China, UK, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Schengen European countries.

Pets travelling into Australia

Australia has instituted travel restrictions for travellers from China, Iran, the Republic of Korea and Italy; passengers who have been in these countries are not allowed to enter or transit through Australia for 14 days from the time of exit from these countries. These restrictions do not apply to Australian nationals, permanent Australian residents and their families, who are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

If you or your pet is travelling to Australia from these countries, you will face travel restrictions in Australia. Australian airports are functioning normally, and all international flight services are operating as usual, except flight services to and from Iran, South Korea, China and Italy.

Check your airlines before planning pet travel

The worldwide pandemic has resulted in a considerable drop in international travel, and airlines are coping with this drop by cutting down on international routes. Qantas has cut down its international capacity by 25% due to the decline in demand because of coronavirus. Virgin Australia has cut its international capacity by 8% and domestic flights by 5% to address the impact of COVID-19 on the airline.

Similarly, British Airways has suspended all flights to China and Italy, and Lufthansa has announced the cancellation of 23,000 flights across all passenger airlines in the Lufthansa group. Singapore Airlines has cancelled several international flights including those flying to London, Australia, European countries, Malaysia, and other countries.

Effect of coronavirus on international pet travel

International pet travel has always been complex, but with a global pandemic of this scale, pet parents must anticipate and plan for complications and last-minute schedule changes. Travel restrictions and regulations are in constant flux and are changing every day because the pandemic is still spreading around the world. Petraveller can help you with the latest pet import rules and regulations.

Since many airlines are cutting back on their international routes, waiting times might get longer, and it could get more complicated to book the flight of your pet’s convenience. The international pet travel process typically takes between several weeks to a few months; be prepared to add extra weeks due to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

International pet travel is perplexing at times like these; remember to make sure you and your pet take all safety precautions seriously and are adequately protected at all times. Coronavirus COVID-19 has created worldwide uncertainty for both human and pet travel and regulations and restrictions are changing daily. Pet travel is possible; however your preferred travel dates may need to be delayed. Contact our team for expert and up to date advice on the safest available routes on 1300 644 115, or at flying@petraveller.com.au