China’s ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye has called on Australia to remove “harsh” travel ban restrictions in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
In an exclusive interview with Sky News Chief Anchor Kieran Gilbert, Mr Cheng said the travel ban “unnecessarily” interfered with trade and travel and said Australia should be “coolheaded and not panic”.
“We are deeply disappointed by the restrictive measures that have been taken because as I see it they are out of proportion,” he said.
“As you said it is inconsistent with the professional recommendations of the World Health Organisation.
“We have expressed our strong wish and hope that the Australian government in its next review will take into account the whole situation and take a balanced approach and consider removing those harsh restrictions or at least relax restrictions.”
Mr Gilbert pointed out that China itself had taken extraordinary measures well beyond recommendations of the WHO by detaining millions of people in Wuhan and the broader Hubei province.
Mr Cheng responded saying the situation in China was “totally different” from that in Australia.
“We need to take extra measures to stop the spread of the disease whereas here the situation is totally different,” he said.
“Australia is only one of a few countries which has taken such sweeping and stringent restrictive measures on travel.
“We hope the (Australian) government will take a balanced approach and remove harsh restrictions or at least relax them.”
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