Restrictions on foreign nationals from China will continue in wake of coronavirus

Shanghai/China-Jan.2020: New type coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan has been spreading into many cities in China. People wearing surgical mask standing at railway station platform in Shanghai

Restrictions on foreign nationals who have recently been in mainland China will continue for a further week from 15 February 2020 due to the risk of coronavirus, as directed by the National Security Committee of Cabinet.

The National Security Committee said the decision was underpinned by medical advice and recommendations from the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer and chief medical officers from each state and territory, on the steps necessary to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The restrictions will be reviewed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee in one week.

The National Security Committee said it announced the decision now to give certainty to travellers, businesses and organisations.

The continuation of the travel restrictions means that for a further week, foreign nationals – excluding permanent residents – who have been in mainland China will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they left.

Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians and dependants only). However those who have been in mainland China from 1 February 2020, and who return to Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days from the time they left mainland China.

Australia is one of 58 countries that has introduced some form of travel restrictions on passengers who have been in mainland China.

The National Security Committee said the decision was one of a number of measures the government has taken to protect public health and keep Australians safe at home and abroad.

In response the Chinese Embassy has expressed its deepest regret and dissatisfaction over the  government’s announcement

A statement from the embassy said since  the outbreak of COVID-19, China had taken the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures, many of which far exceed the requirements of the International Health Regulations and WHO recommendations. And they are achieving positive results.

Chinese officials said the country was fully confident to win the fight against the epidemic.

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