Chinese travellers will be denied entry to Australia as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rises to 12.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Saturday that foreign travellers who have left or passed through mainland China will be banned from Australia in a desperate effort to prevent the outbreak from spreading further.
Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families will be exempt from the strict measures.
It also extends to airline staff who have used personal protective gear.
The official advice is now that Australians “do not travel” to mainland China.
The tough new measures, announced on Saturday afternoon, come as the number of Australians confirmed to have contracted coronavirus rose to 12 on Saturday with three new cases across Victoria and South Australia.
Qantas also announced on Saturday that it will suspend its two direct services to mainland China from February 9 until March 28.
‘Our first responsibility is to Australians,’ Mr Morrison told reporters on Saturday afternoon.
As of Saturday, all travellers arriving out of mainland China are being asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they depart the country.
‘In addition to that, there’ll be advanced screening and reception arrangements put into place at the major airports to facilitate identifying and providing this information and ensuring the appropriate precautions are being put in place,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘There’s a half a million masks that will be provided to those airports to support those who are coming off these flights as well as those who are with those coming from those flights.
‘There’ll also be thermometers which are provided to those airports and we’re working with those airport authorities now to ensure we can put those arrangements in place.’
Australians are advised not to travel to mainland China after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the nation grew to 12 on Saturday.
South Australia confirmed two cases of the potentially fatal coronavirus on Satruday, taking the national total to 12.
Travellers from Hong Kong, which has a border with mainland China, are not included in the ban. Australians can still travel to Hong Kong but they should exercise a “high degree of caution,” the Smart Traveller website advised.