Australian Politician Defends Virus Travel Ban Extension After China Calls It ‘Extreme’

Australia extends ban on visitors from China

Australia's China travel ban extended for a week over virus fears

Australia will extend its ban on people entering the country from mainland China due to the coronavirus for an extra week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The government's original 14 day ban was put in place to try and stop the spread of coronavirus, now officially known as COVID-19.

More than 60,000 people have been infected with the virus around the world, with the death toll now sitting at 1,369.

China has reported its highly daily death toll to coronavirus after those killed by the infection rose by more than 240 overnight.

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

Nine of the 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia are in stable condition and six have been cleared.

The WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries should not impose trade or travel restrictions against China because they could cause "fear and stigma".

"We know the decision to extend these restrictions will be hard for many students during what is already a very stressful time", she said.

"We have heard alarming reports from the media, social media and firsthand accounts of people with an Asian background being targets of discrimination, racism and racial profiling", President Dr Annabelle Bennet said.

Passengers from a China Southern Airlines flight touch down in Australia last month. "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.

"You can understand it from the Chinese perspective".

"We know the decision to extend these restrictions will be hard for many students during what is already a very stressful time", she said.

More than 100,000 global students stranded in China have been unable to begin their university classes in Australia this term, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Work is also underway on extending existing domestic tourism campaigns to help businesses impacted by the downturn in foreign visitors.

The ban extension has been slammed by the director of Victoria's Migrant Workers Centre Matt Kunkel. "Only Australia and a small number of countries have taken such extreme measures which are overreaction indeed", a spokesperson said in a statement.

Meanwhile, an Australian public health expert is being sent to Japan to look at the handling of the cruise ship Diamond Princess' quarantine process and provide assistance to the government.

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