Australia should ease travel ban on foreigners from China: Ambassador

SYDNEY: Australia should lift its ban on the arrival of foreign nationals from mainland China, China's ambassador to Australia said on Monday (Feb 17).

Australia has since Feb 1 prevented anyone but citizens and permanent residents from entering the country directly from mainland China, citing a need to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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The number of cases in Australia have held steady at 15, China's Ambassador to Australia said, and the restrictions should be eased when Canberra next reviews the policy before Feb 22.

"We have expressed our strong wish and hope that the Australian government in their review will take a balanced approach and remove those harsh restrictions.

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"At the very least they should relax them," Cheng Jingye told Sky News Australia. "It is inconsistent with the recommendations of the (World Health Organisation)."

The number of reported new infections in China's Hubei province rose on Monday after two days of declines, as authorities imposed tough new restrictions on movement to prevent the spread of the disease which has killed more than 1,700 people.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Canberra would be guided by advice from medical experts, despite growing pressure on the Australian economy.

China is Australia's largest trading partner, sending more than 1 million tourists and students there each year.

Australia's top central banker this month said the epidemic could shave 0.2 percentage poinRead More – Source