The purpose of this Circular is to provide advice to agencies considering sending Commonwealth officials on official travel overseas.
Undertaking official travel overseas
Many international destinations have high numbers of COVID-19 cases and are subject to relatively greater risk of community transmission.
This situation places Commonwealth officials travelling overseas at a high risk of being exposed to a variant of COVID-19 in the course of their employment.
When travelling alone or as part of an official delegation, Commonwealth officials are at high risk of being exposed to the virus which can make them seriously ill and lead to hospitalisation, be further transmitted amongst the delegation and imported into the Australian community.
This risk is amplified by the ongoing emergence of new COVID-19 variants that are more transmissible and have been associated with more severe disease.
Given the high risk of COVID-19 exposure, overseas travel is only recommended for individuals who have been fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration recognised vaccine. Travelers should also have received their second vaccination a minimum of two weeks prior to travel.
An unvaccinated official may need to undertake official overseas travel for essential purposes as identified by the agency head or because they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. In these circumstances, the agency head is expected to manage the risk against the necessity of the travel.