SYDNEY, AUSTRALA - The Chinese embassy in Canberra has criticized Australia’s coronavirus travel ban. It is preventing entry to all foreigners traveling from mainland China for at least two weeks. An eight-year-old boy in Queensland state has become the 13th confirmed Australian case of the disease. Two Australians are among the 10 people who have tested positive for the virus onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan.
More than 100,000 Chinese students will not be able to start their university and college courses in Australia because of the travel ban put in place to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus. They will miss the opening weeks of classes for this semester, and will have to study online back home instead. The restrictions saw about 70 Chinese students detained at Australian airports at the weekend and their visas cancelled.
Chinese diplomats say travelers were not given enough warning of the ban, with many already in the air when the ban came into effect on February 1.
Wang Xining is the deputy head of mission at the Chinese embassy in Canberra.
“We are not happy about the situation because they were not alerted. There is not enough time to be alerted about the restriction,” said Wang.
Education for international students is Australia's third largest export, and officials hope the ban is lifted soon. That depends on when the global spread of the coronavirus can be slowed, and eventually stopped.
Dozens of Australians airlifted from the virus epicenter in Wuhan, China, remain in quarantine on the Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island.
A group of New Zealanders, and other foreign nationals, including those from Britain, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Samoa, have also been flown out of Wuhan on a 12-hour flight to Auckland, where they will be put into isolation for two weeks.
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.
Mild cases of the virus can cause cold-like symptoms, while severe infections can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and death.