MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia will maintain an entry ban on foreign nationals from mainland China for another week to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.
Australia has 15 cases of the virus but has not had any new cases since the travel ban was first put in place on Feb.1, Morrison said. The ban will be reviewed each week.
“Our current measures are working, they are effective, they are doing the job,” he told a press conference in Canberra. “That’s why this afternoon we have agreed to accept recommendations to maintain the ban on entry restrictions.”
Australian citizens and permanent residents returning home are exempt from the ban but are required to isolate themselves for 14 days after their arrival.
The health department said that all but one of the 15 cases in Australia involved people who had come from Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the outbreak was first identified late last year.
Five people who had been ill have since recovered, the department said.
More than 1,350 people have died in mainland China as a result of the epidemic, and authorities said that rate are some 60,000 confirmed cases.
Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Kim Coghill & Simon Cameron-Moore