Students in China can apply for virus travel ban exemption
MORE than 700 high school students in year 11 and 12, banned from entering Australia due to the coronavirus, will be allowed in if they meet strict conditions.
Under new rules, senior high school students and their guardians will be able to apply for an exemption if they are quarantined and show no sign of illness for 14 days.
The eligible students will also have to prove they are already enrolled at an Australian high school and haven't visited the Hubei province - the epicentre of the coronavirus - since the outbreak began.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said coronavirus or COVID-19 had been contained in Australia and the medical recommendation to the government was to allow case-by-case exemptions.
"In particular, that should include consideration of year 11 and 12 secondary school students from mainland China, excluding Hubei," he said.
The government estimated there are about 400 Year 12 students and 360 Year 11 students wanting to return to Australia to study.
To meet the 13 criteria, state and territory government will also have to approve the evacuation of the high school students and the Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner will rubber stamp the decision.
Successful students will be screened for symptoms by the Department of Agriculture when they arrive at the border.
If a student or guardian breaches quarantine arrangements, their visa may be cancelled.
The minor exemption comes just days after the Morrison government extended its ban on international arrivals who have visited China for a fourth week due to the coronavirus crisis.
The government is under increasing pressure to allow an estimated 65,800 international visa-holding students from China back into Australia as the university sector braces for an economic hit.
Education Minister Dan Tehan said the government will consider expanding the exemption to thousands of university students stuck in China, subject to a review next week.