As calls for an end to the china travel ban continue to come from Chinese international students, Professor Ian Cook says the ban was an overreaction that could damage Australia’s relationship with China.
Professor Cook says the virus was never the threat it was made out to be.
“I think we’re beginning to understand that there’s some hysteria around the initial emergence of Coronavirus,”
“The signs seem to be that the rate of increased cases is dropping– it was never going to be the threat some people made it out to be.”
Cook says we should be cautious about the virus, but that a travel ban was the wrong response.
“I’m not saying we should ignore the problem, and we should be monitoring things, but travel bans are just inappropriate.”
“[It] was something of an overreaction by governments, and I think we need to walk back that reaction.”
He also says that the ban was encouraged at least in part by racism.
“Generally the sorts of things that people are doing, and the anti-Chinese sentiment is coming out in circumstances where there’s absolutely no threat of coronavirus.”
“I think that there’s no doubt that there’s quite a bit of xenophobia at work here.”
The Professor suggested that a continuing travel ban could step on the toes of Chinese President Xi Jingping and potentially undermine the Australian-Chinese relationship.
“It probably already has damaged our relationship with China, and I think the longer we continue it, the more damage we do.”
“The Chinese don’t like these sorts of unilateral actions on the part of other governments that doesn’t fit in with the positioning that Xi Jingping it trying to work towards- it just runs counter to everything that china is trying to do to be treated in this sort of way.”