on air now

All NSW children who have visited China told not to return to school

Any child who has visited China in the past fortnight is being told not to return to school for the start of the year due to fears over coronavirus.

There are now five confirmed cases in Australia, with the death toll climbing above 100 in China.

The Federal Education Minister and NSW Department of Education Secretary both claimed there was no risk around students who had visited China over the holidays.

But now, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has taken the extraordinary step of asking the parents of those children to keep them at home.

He tells Ben Fordham it’s “one of the most difficult decisions” he’s made as a minister over the last 10 years.

“As Health Minister I was also hearing advice from China that they thought that now it’s possible… that one could be infected in the period before symptoms show.

“In the end, I made a decision which was in the interest, I believe, of all of our community, all of our children.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

The Federal Education Minister is also under fire after appearing to prioritise foreign dollars over the safety of Australian students.

Minister Tehan criticised private schools that had already told pupils who have visited China to stay home, saying it sends the wrong message to international students.

“We want to make sure that we are continuing to send a message that Australia is open for international students,” he said.

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick has slammed the comments, telling Ben Fordham the government’s priorities are all wrong.

“Principals of schools have, as a first priority, the welfare and education of their students. They are not there to send messages from government.”

Ben agrees, saying Minister Tehan’s comments are “crazy”.

“I’ll just say again to Dan Tehan, you are off your rocker! That’s not the main concern Minister, the main concern is making sure kids are going to be safe.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Image: Getty/Betsy Joles