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Australia Concerns grow as virus travel ban extends

21:10  14 february  2020
21:10  14 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

All four NSW coronavirus patients free from disease

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A researcher shows the experiment to develop an mRNA vaccine targeting the novel coronavirus. © Ding Ting/Xinhua via Getty A researcher shows the experiment to develop an mRNA vaccine targeting the novel coronavirus.

A number of lobby groups have hit back at the federal government's decision to extend the coronavirus travel ban, in fear of the rising economic impacts on the country.

From Friday, foreign nationals who have been in mainland China will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they left.

The Chinese embassy says the ban is "extreme" and should be lifted, given the World Health Organisation has not recommended travel or trade restrictions on China.

"We express our deep regret and dissatisfaction over the Australian government's announcement," a spokesman said in a statement.

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Australia's deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly admits the move was a big decision.

"It's something that wasn't taken lightly. We think it is the most appropriate thing to do," he told Sky News.

Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Magy Osmond says the ban is another blow to the tourism industry with the Chinese inbound market worth some $700 million to Australia each week.

"We need to support our China relationships and be willing and flexible enough to act as soon as the ban has been lifted to attract Chinese visitors back to Australia," Ms Osmond said in a statement on Friday.

The National Union of Students called out the ban, saying it discriminates against international students.

NUS national president Molly Millmott says up to 56 per cent of enrolled Chinese international students remain stranded overseas waiting to return to Australia.

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  Tehan warns of economic hit if virus 'breakthrough' delayed Education Minister Dan Tehan has vowed to work with the education sector as he concedes if there is not a breakthrough with the coronavirus the economic impact on Australia will be “significant”. An estimated 56 per cent of Chinese international students remain outside of Australia, forced to miss out on the first weeks of the semester after the government issued a ban on travel from individuals from mainland China in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Mr Tehan said he hoped for “some sort of breakthrough” in the coming weeks, telling Sky News the next two to three weeks will be “absolutely crucial”.

"NUS maintains that this ban is predicated on racial division that discriminates against international students, but also fails to account for many of the consequences that this will likely precipitate upon the Australian higher education space and the welfare of the student body," Ms Willmott said in a statement on Friday.

No quarantined Australians at Christmas Island and Darwin have tested positive for the virus, with the first group of evacuees due to return home on Monday.

Australian Border Force issued a statement on Friday night.

"The ABF is currently making arrangements to transfer those who have been quarantined on Christmas Island once they have been medically cleared," an ABF spokesman told AAP.

"The government will continue to provide routine updates when appropriate."

Of the 15 coronavirus cases in Australia, six have been cleared and the remaining nine are all stable.

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Pictures: Coronoavirus (COVID 19) outbreak


Sydney train platform shut for virus check .
Authorities say there is no risk to public health after police attended Sydney's Central Station when a man told rail staff he recently arrived from China.Health authorities say anyone arriving from mainland China should isolate themselves at home for 14 days due to the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Hubei province.

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