Coronavirus: Australia ‘should let Chinese students back in’
Australia's travel ban on China reduced the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 by about 87 per cent but it might now be possible to let Chinese students, a new study claims.
If we had not implemented the travel ban the COVID outbreak would have lasted more than a year resulting in more than 2000 cases and about 400 deaths, the modelling by University NSW and the Kirby Institute.
However, the study suggests that now COVID-19 is under control in China it may be possible to reconsider allowing 100,000 Chinese students into Australia.
"The impact of a partial lifting of a ban is minimal, and may be a policy option," the authors say.
The modelling suggests lifting the travel ban now would see few new cases of coronavirus entering Australia by April 4.
However, it shows if the entire travel ban was lifted and tourists were allowed in from China 6 infected people could enter Australia.
"In the epidemic curve for scenario 2, when travel resumes there will be a small surge in cases followed by a decrease and the epidemic can be controlled, with a total of less than 300 cases and about 8 deaths," the study found.
University of NSW and Kirby Institute's Professor Raina MacIntyre is one of the authors of the modelling which assumed infected people would be isolated and their contacts traced.
The modelling did not look at COPVID19 cases coming in from other countries such as Italy, the US or Europe.
"This analyses is a first insight into the effectiveness of travel restrictions for COVID-19 outbreak, supports the effectiveness of the Australian response, informs gradual lifting of the bans or placing of new bans on other countries, and could inform other countries in reducing the burden of importations and resulting domestic transmission of COVID-19," the authors say.
Australia implemented a travel ban on China on February 1st 2020 and it was later extended to Iran and then South Korea on February 29th and March 5th respectively.
On February 23 the government lifted the China travel ban for around 800 Chinese Year 11 and 12 students who study in Australia.
Around 30,000 Chinese students who study in Australia went to a third country for 14 days so they could later travel to Australia to take up their studies.
Another 100,000 could be allowed in if the travel ban was lifted.