“The protection and safety of Australians is our highest priority,” he said. “The [committee was also] advised that the number of cases in Australia remains at 15, indicating the government’s precautionary approach to preventing the spread of coronavirus on our shores continue to be successful.”
The coronavirus has now killed 2128 and infected 75,275 world-wide. The province at the centre of the outbreak, Hubei, reported 349 extra cases on Thursday – a sharp decline in the rate of growth after China’s National Health Commission again changed its classification to exclude thousands of clinically diagnosed cases that were assessed using CT scanners.
Mr Morrison noted there were signs the spread of the coronavirus in Chinese provinces outside Hubei province is slowing.
“We will need to watch closely whether this positive trend continues as people return to work after the holidays,” he said. “Unfortunately, the number of infections and deaths in Hubei province itself continues to grow.”
Up to 100 Australians, including children, are still trapped in Hubei province. They are the last Australians remaining in the high-risk zone after 169 were evacuated off the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship in Japan overnight to the Howard Springs Mining Camp outside Darwin.
Mr Morrison said on Thursday there were no current plans to evacuate those still trapped in Hubei.
“Make no mistake about the complexity about getting into these areas and the arrangement you have to put in place with those authorities,” he said. “So at this point we don’t have a plan to do a third flight.”