Canberra, Mar 18 : Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday that his government is issuing an advisory banning international travel for all its citizens, as countries around the world are closing their borders and imposing travel restrictions or outright bans as part of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“We are upgrading the travel ban on Australians to level four for the entire world. This is the first time that such a step has been taken in Australia’s history. The travel advice to every Australian is to not travel abroad, do not go overseas. That is a very clear instruction,” the Prime Minister stated. The bulk of COVID-19 cases are being traced to Australian citizens returning from other countries, making a ban on foreign travel a crucial measure in curbing the spread of the disease, the Prime Minister stated.
“The biggest risk we have had and the biggest incidence of cases that we have had … has been from Australians returning from overseas, from many countries that you wouldn’t have expected to be the source,” Morrison remarked. He also announced additional measures to provide relief for the healthcare and aviation industries. The government has announced that it will waive a number of regulatory charges for airlines, and up to 20,000 international student nurses currently enrolled in programmes in Australia will be called upon to work in the country's clinics and hospitals.
Australia was one of the first territories outside of China to report a case of COVID-19, as the country confirmed its first diagnosis on January 25. As of Wednesday morning, the Australian Government Department of Health confirmed 454 cin Australia, an increase of 40 overnight. Five people have died in Australia till now after contracting COVID-19 and 43 people have recovered from the disease. (UNI)