A travel ban preventing Chinese visitors from entering Australia has been extended for at least another week.
The ban was due to end this weekend, however the Federal Government confirmed they have accepted the recommendation from medical experts to extend it following a national security committee meeting this afternoon.
Speaking to reporters in Canberra on Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government is doing everything it can to protect Australians from the new Coronavirus, which has now been named Covid-19.
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“This afternoon we have agreed to accept the recommendations to maintain the ban on entry restrictions on foreign nationals from mainland China for a further week. This is something we will continue to review on a weekly basis, and consider all the medical evidence on a weekly basis,” Mr Morrison said.
“Australia’s arrangements to protect Australians from Coronavirus here in Australia are working, they’re effective, they’re doing the job and it’s important that we ensure that continues to be the case.”
The Prime Minister said extending the ban was a decision they did not take lightly.
“We are very mindful of the disruption and economic impacts of these arrangements, but I note Australia is one of 58 countries that has introduced some form of travel restrictions,” Mr Morrison said.
The ban restricts foreign nationals who are in mainland China from entering Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through mainland China.
Australians who are returning after visiting mainland China are being told to self-isolate for 14 days.
More than 60,000 people have been infected with the virus around the world, with the death toll currently sitting at 1,369.
In Australia there have been 15 people who have tested positive, with five of those on the Gold Coast.