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COVID update – Indian Ocean Territories

 

 

 

24 November 2021

IOT COVID-19 subcommittee update

MANDATORY VACCINATION REQUIREMENT FOR TRAVEL TO IOT

As indicated in our previous updates, we have been reviewing legal and medical advice on restricting travel to the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) to fully COVID vaccinated travellers only and are now in a position to announce our way forward.

As residents are aware, the IOT is entirely dependent on the ability to travel to WA for medical, education and business purposes, as well as onwards travel to other locations.  This means we cannot risk our travel arrangements with WA, so we have been taking a considered approach to developing the IOT roadmap to living with COVID, using WA’s border measures and roadmap to guide us.

The IOT COVID-19 sub-committee today formally adopted a new policy position that will take effect from Tuesday 30 November 2021:

·         Only fully vaccinated travellers (aged 12 and above), who have spent at least fourteen days (prior to travel) in a very low risk jurisdiction (as per WA guidelines) will be issued a travel approval by the IOT Administrator to travel by air to Christmas or the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Legal advice confirms this policy position, which will remain in place for the duration of the IOT COVID-19 State of Emergency or until the committee reviews its position.

We are continuing to work on application of mandatory COVID vaccination across a range of essential industries and services, again aligned with WA settings. It is important to note that many industries are already covered by the WA directions on mandatory vaccinations for workers. Further information on this will be provided in the near future.

Uptake of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccination has been extremely strong in the IOT, with the IOT Health Service reporting that 96 per cent of eligible Christmas & Cocos (Keeling) Islands residents aged 12 and over have been vaccinated. This is an excellent result and is a real credit to the health services team who did an exceptional job managing the roll-out, as well as to each and every one of you who rolled up your sleeves to protect us all. But we need to maintain this high level of vaccination, as it is our best protection.

Our strongest advice is that if you have not been vaccinated yet, please contact the health services on either Christmas or Cocos (Keeling) Islands ASAP and register yourself for a vaccine appointment.  IOTHS is up and running again with its COVID clinics and there are plenty of doses and appointments available.

It is great to see the country opening up again in stages. But – as travel returns and increases – now is the time each and every one of us needs to be vigilant to the potential threat COVID-19 poses to the most vulnerable in our community.

What we all need to do now is remember our COVID Safe behaviours and practices. These include physical distancing, hand hygiene and using contact registers.

All local businesses and patrons should be using paper-based contact registers for checking in. These contact registers are essential to support contact tracing if required.

The subcommittee asks you all to ensure contact registers are filled in at all times.

Travellers to the IOT should also monitor any exposure locations on the mainland and make contact with authorities if they have been in an affected site. Should anyone experience any symptoms, please isolate and immediately contact IOTHS by phone for further instructions.

Now is not the time for complacency – this is when we need people to follow the rules and be vigilant, to ensure we can control COVID risk and remain safely open to travel and tourism over the coming summer and beyond.

Proof of COVID vaccination

People can access their immunisation history statement or COVID-19 digital certificate to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations.

The immunisation history statement shows all the vaccinations a person has had that are on the Australian Immunisation Register. You can get a copy of your statement online at any time.

Anyone who has received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Australia can access their COVID-19 digital certificate. The digital certificate only shows proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, and is available once a vaccination provider reports vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register.

To access proof of COVID-19 vaccinations online and in the Medicare app, people who are eligible for Medicare need to:

·         create a myGov account and link to Medicare.

·         have the latest version of the Express Plus Medicare app installed.

People who aren’t eligible for Medicare can view their immunisation history statement or digital certificate through the Individual Healthcare Identifiers Service via myGov. They will first need to:

·         apply for an Individual Healthcare Identifier through myGov.

·         link to the Individual Healthcare Identifiers Service in myGov.

People can also save their digital certificate to their Apple Wallet or Google Pay if this option suits them.

 

Immunisation history statement

Your immunisation history statement shows all vaccinations you’ve had that are recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

IOTHS needs to report your COVID-19 vaccination information to the AIR before it will appear on your statement. It can take up to 10 days for your vaccination provider to update the AIR.

If your COVID-19 vaccination information is incorrect you need to ask your vaccination provider – IOTHS – to update the AIR. They can usually correct entries on your record for information that is missing or needs updating including:

·         number of doses

·         dates of vaccination

·         vaccine brand.

If your COVID-19 vaccinations aren’t showing after 10 days, or can’t be updated by the provider, call the AIR on 1800 653 809.

You can get your immunisation history statement using Medicare or the Individual Healthcare Identifier service through myGov. Read more about how to get proof of your vaccination.

If you’ve had mixed doses, you need to use your immunisation history statement as proof of your COVID-19 vaccination.

For further information, see:

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/getting-help-during-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-vaccinations/what-proof-you-can-get

If people on CI and CKI are continuing to have issues obtaining proof of vaccination via myGOV, or if the details in myGOV are incorrect, and they require their certification urgently to support travel or other activities, they should contact IOTHS (ioths@infrastructure.gov.au or call the clinics West Island 9162 6655, Home Island 9162 7609, Christmas Island Health Service 9164 8333) and interim proof of vaccination will be provided directly.

Advice for those on CKI who can’t get an SMS code to sign in to myGOV

For those community members on CKI who cannot receive an SMS code to sign into myGov, you are able to use the myGov Code Generator app as an alternative to sign in.

The myGov Code Generator app creates codes. You use these codes, your username and password, to sign in to myGov. Find out more about how to sign in to myGov.

If you set up myGov Code Generator, you’ll need to enter a code from the app to sign into myGov. You’ll have to do this each time you sign in to myGov.

You can’t sign in to your myGov account through the myGov Code Generator app. You need to sign in through the myGov website and then use the Code Generator app to verify your sign-in.

You can read more about myGov Code Generator codes on the About myGov page.

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/online-help/set-mygov-code-generator-app

The COVID subcommittee – working with local businesses and operators

Throughout the pandemic, the IOT COVID-19 subcommittee including the Territory Controllers have worked closely with agencies, businesses and organisations on island to ensure that appropriate processes and procedures are in place to manage COVID risks and best protect the local communities and operators.

This includes setting requirements for cleaning of locations or vehicles used by those whose movements are restricted due to the nature of their travel. These requirements are long-standing.

It is expected and required that local operators follow these COVID-safe requirements and make any necessary adjustments to their own commercial operations or arrangements, to ensure they are meeting the directions and keeping everyone safe.

If, as part of our COVID management responsibilities, the subcommittee makes significant decisions or adjustments which would broadly affect local businesses, organisations and community members, we will always inform you of such changes through our established channels, including these updates and the Administrator official Facebook page.

The COVID-19 subcommittee will continue to make decisions for the safety and protection of IOT residents.

IOT travel application forms

All travellers – regardless of whether they are IOT residents or visitors – must complete a travel form. Christmas Islanders travelling to Cocos must complete the form for travel entry into Cocos. The same applies for Cocos residents travelling to Christmas Island.

Anyone travelling to both islands will be required to complete forms for both CKI and CI.

These forms support the Territory Controllers and health service in our COVID-19 response and contact tracing, in the event of a positive COVID case in the IOT.

·         https://bit.ly/IOT_Traveller_Form_Cocos

·         https://bit.ly/IOT_Traveller_Form_Christmas

 

Entry in to WA

All entry into WA requires approval from WA Police. All travellers to WA must apply using the “Good to Go Pass” app which is completed electronically. It can be found at https://www.g2gpass.com.au/. For anyone experiencing difficulties with obtaining approval from WA Police, please email iotadministrator@infrastructure.gov.au for assistance.

Important Contact numbers

Christmas Island

·         Christmas island Health Services 9164-8333

·         Christmas Island Community Policing Team 9164-8444

·         Social Worker Phone 9164 8333 ext 128 or 0447 975 436

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

·         Home Island Clinic 9162-7609

·         West Island Clinic 9162-6655

·         Cocos Community Policing Team 9162-6600

If you feel unsafe or are concerned for someone’s safety, please call 000

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