China travel ban extended for another week as coronavirus cases continue to rise

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday. Source: AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the travel ban will continue as the number of coronavirus cases in Hubei continue to increase.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has extended a travel ban preventing foreign nationals from China entering Australia amid ongoing concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

The 21-day ban was due to end on Saturday but will now be in place until 29 February.

While there has been no new cases of coronavirus detected in Australia since 6 February, Mr Morrison said the numbers continue to rise in Hubei province, where the virus originated. 

"The protection and safety of Australians is our highest priority," Mr Morrison said in a statement on Thursday.

He said the decision was guided by expert medical advice.

"The AHPPC [Australian Health Protection Principal Committee] has also advised that the number of cases in Australia remains at 15, indicating the government's precautionary approach to preventing the spread of coronavirus on our shores continues to be successful," he said.

The decision was made after a meeting of the National Security Committee.

"The AHPPC has advised that there are signs the spread of the coronavirus in Chinese provinces outside Hubei province is slowing ... Unfortunately, the number of infections and deaths in Hubei province itself continues to grow," he said.

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

Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members.

There have been 75,302 cases of the virus worldwide, with 2,102 deaths.

All of the 15 cases in Australia have come from Wuhan, except one in NSW who had contact in China with a confirmed case in Wuhan.

Ten of those have recovered and the remaining five are in a stable condition. 

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