Australia

Plan to bring international students back to ACT shelved as COVID-19 cases rise

The announcement was made on Thursday. Source: Gtty

The discovery of new cases of coronavirus in the ACT has led the ANU and the University of Canberra to postpone a plan to bring back international students.

International students won't be returning to Canberra as planned with a trial "safe passage" program postponed as new cases of coronavirus are found in the ACT.

The Australian National University and the University of Canberra had planned to bring about 350 foreign students stranded overseas back to start their second semester of studies.

The program was to test the waters for a wider return of students across Australia.

ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said the delay was just that, not an end to the plan.

"We remain committed to ensuring our students can continue their studies back in Australia when the time is right," he said.

A man in his 20s tested positive to coronavirus in Canberra on Thursday.

He is a close contact of a trio who were found to be infected on Wednesday after returning from Melbourne over the weekend.

ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman maintained that the risk to the broader community was low.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms should get tested straight away.

People who have travelled to Canberra from Victoria in the past three weeks must self-isolate at home.

Dr Coleman also urged people to be kind to each other.

"We don't blame anyone for these new cases," she said.

"The situation in Victoria is evolving very quickly, and people coming to the ACT who may have COVID-19 need our support."

The ACT has delayed by a fortnight a planned further easing of restrictions that was set for Friday.

The restrictions on travellers from Victoria have hit Melbourne-based federal ministers and could stymie MPs from that state from returning to Canberra for parliament in August.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government has been in talks with the ACT about how to put practical arrangements in place for politicians.

Melbourne-based minister Alan Tudge was allowed to come to Canberra on Thursday for an announcement with Mr Morrison.

"I can tell you they'll all be very well-behaved and will follow the rules, as you would expect them to, just as Minister Tudge has today," the prime minister told reporters.

Residents in affected public housing towers who need access to support and assistance should call the Housing Call Centre on 1800 961 054. If you need a translator, first call 131 450. Both services are 24/7. More information can be found here.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus  

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