Scott Morrison announced this morning that Australia will ban entry to all foreign nationals traveling from mainland China, in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister made the announcement at a press conference in Sydney, saying that the ban affects everyone who has been in China from February 1.
This applies to individuals who have left or transited through mainland China, and extends an existing ban on travel from Hubei, the epicentre of the current coronavirus outbreak
Speaking to reporters, Morrison said:
“We’re in fact operating with an abundance of caution in these circumstances, so Australians can go about their daily lives with confidence.”
Asked about any potential political fallout from the decision, Morrison said that he was putting Australia’s interests first, adding:
“Obviously, we appreciate the challenges that the Chinese government are facing at the moment with this very serious issue, and we do thank them for the engagement we have had.”
Australian citizens and permanent residents returning home are exempt from the travel ban, but will be required to required to isolate themselves for 14 days after their arrival.
This news comes a day after Qantas and Air New Zealand announced that they were suspending flights to mainland China.
So far, ten cases of coronavirus have been identified in Australia, but there have been no fatalities. At least two dozen countries have now confirmed cases.
Per official Chinese government figures released on Saturday, 259 people have died from the disease and approximately 11,791 are known to be infected.