The National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSC) met this afternoon to discuss the evolving novel coronavirus crisis. The NSC considered advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
AHPPC agreed on the following:
- To expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from all of mainland China;
- Recommend to DFAT to now increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to all of mainland China;
- As of today, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China; and
- That to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, AHHPC recommends additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left mainland China from 1 February, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to transit passengers who are not Australian Citizens or permanent residents.
The Government has agreed to accept this advice. As a result, I will be meeting with the board of Universities Australia on Monday to discuss options to work with the sector to minimise the impacts of this decision on Australia’s international education providers. I have also asked the Council for International Education’s Global Reputation Taskforce to convene on Monday to discuss this advice and any necessary responses.
The Government will work with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency and the Australian Skills Quality Authority to ensure providers can offer on-line and remote alternatives while the advice of the AHPPC remains in place.
I appreciate the willingness of the university sector to work with the government to manage this public health emergency. The safety of all Australians remains our Government’s number one priority.