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Coronavirus

Australian universities stung by absence of Chinese students

Billions of dollars at risk as travel ban interrupts return of tens of thousands

The University of Melbourne campus. Thousands of Chinese students have been unable to attend class at schools in Australia because of the government's harsh response to the new coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Jason Koutsoukis) 

MELBOURNE/PALO ALTO, U.S. -- While her university classmates in Australia get ready for a new semester, Tong Yuwen has found herself in Thailand along with hundreds of Chinese students.

Instead of enjoying a holiday, the students are biding their time there before attempting to enter Australia. The plan is to bypass a travel ban the Australian government issued on Feb. 1, making 100,000 Chinese students ineligible to re-enter the country. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday he would extend the initial 14-day ban for a further week.

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