CANBERRA, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government has relaxed its coronavirus travel ban to allow some students from China into the country after Minister for Health Greg Hunt said COVID-19 has been contained in Australia.
As a result, Chinese students enrolled in Australian secondary schools - excluding those from Hubei province, will be able to apply for an exemption to the travel restrictions and travel into the country on a case-by-case basis.
There are more than 700 Chinese students enrolled in Year 11 and 12 - the final two years in the Australian education system - who have not been allowed into Australia because of the government's China travel ban.
If state and territory governments agree to a proposal put forward by Hunt, those students will undergo a 13-step process to enter Australia for education.
"It is incredibly important that we get some normality back to the international student market," Hunt said on Saturday.
However, the estimated 100,000 Chinese students enrolled at Australian universities will have to wait longer before they are allowed into Australia.
"At this stage we are looking at year 11 and 12 students but the medical advice has said in a week we could look at what would happen with tertiary education students," Hunt said.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia remains at 15. Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said on Saturday that its spread has slowed significantly and that allowing people in from China was no longer a significant risk.
"The good news in the last few weeks from China has been that there have been very, very few exported cases of this disease from China - the last official count I saw was only about six," he said.