Australians who plan to travel to Japan and South Korea have been warned to exercise a “high degree of caution” after the federal government has raised the level of travel advice in both countries because of the coronavirus.
Yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Commerce updated its advice for Japan and South Korea from level 1 to level 2 on the four-level Smartraveller consultative scale.
“Based on the advice of the Australian Chief Medical Officer, we now advise you to” exercise a high degree of caution “in Japan due to an increased risk of sustained local transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19),” said DFAT in relation to Japanese advice.
READ MORE: Follow our coronavirus updates
READ MORE: “The virus does not originate in the fish market”
In the same way he updated his advice for South Korea.
“Now we also advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Daegu and Cheongdo due to significant outbreaks of COVID-19 in those cities,” said DFAT.
“If you are in South Korea, check your health carefully and follow the advice of local authorities.”
The department updated its travel tips for China in late January and now urges Australians to reconsider their need to travel to China and avoid the epicenter of the virus in Hubei province.
Most coronavirus cases in Japan are passengers and crew of the Diamond The cruise ship Princess, who spent two weeks in quarantine off the Japanese port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, with 691 cases on board, including 46 Australians. Six Australian passengers have been diagnosed since they were evacuated to the Howard Springs quarantine facility near Darwin.
Three elders Diamond Princess the passengers, all from Japan, died from the virus.
Tokyo will host the July Olympic Games and the city governor reacts to suggestions that it should be moved due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Yuriko Koike was responding to a comment from British mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey that London may need to “step up” as a replacement guest.
“It is inappropriate to say anything that will make coronavirus a problem for the mayor’s race at a time when it attracted global interest,” Koike said over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the President of South Korea has ordered the country’s officials to take “unprecedented, powerful” measures to combat the spread of the virus.
South Korea has announced 169 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total to 602. Its death toll has doubled from three to six.
Most cases have been reported in the country’s fourth largest city, Daegu, with over half of the cases connected to a local church branch.
The South Korean government has raised the level of virus alert – red – to the maximum which could force authorities to close schools and reduce public and air transport operations.
President Moon Jae-in said the coronavirus epidemic has “reached a crucial watershed,” according to Associated Press reports.
“We should not be bound by regulations and not hesitate to take powerful and unprecedented measures,” said Moon.
The Australian ban on foreign travelers from China was extended to Saturday, but the government will now allow high school students from mainland China to enter, with the exception of Hubei Province.
Students aged 11 and 12 who are enrolled in Australian schools will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with the final say of states and territories, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said on Saturday.
A similar relaxation of travel restrictions for college students will be considered this week.