Chinese tourists rush to extend their visas so they can stay and not return home to coronavirus epicentre - The Most Popular Lists

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Chinese tourists rush to extend their visas so they can stay and not return home to coronavirus epicentre


Chinese tourists in Australia are scrambling to extend their visas to avoid heading home where coronavirus has killed 563 people.

Migration agents say they have been inundated with inquiries from holidaymakers desperate to stay Down Under.

Tourist visas usually last three months but can be extended for up to a year upon request.


Legal experts say Chinese visitors will have a good case to extend their visas if travel restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak make their journeys home difficult.

Chinese tourists in Australia are scrambling to extend their visas to avoid heading home where coronavirus has killed around 563 people

Jennifer Zhu, a Sydney migration lawyer, said she has been working overtime to deal with a high volume of applications.

'A lot of them are very urgent due to the remaining days on their visas,' she told the ABC.


'Some of them might only have a few more days before they must leave and they need professional advice instantly.'

Jinfeng Wang and Xikun Zhang, who left China to visit their daughter in Melbourne before the outbreak, are among those who want to extend their tourist visas.

'I'm really worried. If we return to China there is a high risk of getting infected,' Ms Wang told the ABC.

It comes as Virgin Australia cancels flights from Sydney to Hong Kong from 2 March.


The company the move to save money because not enough customers were booking flights as coronavirus spreads around the world.

The airline decided to axe some international routes and cut 750 jobs after it lost $350million in 2019.

In November it announced its service from Melbourne to Hong Kong will stop on 11 February - and it also slashed several domestic routes.

Virgin Australia Group Chief Commercial Officer John MacLeod said the spread of the coronavirus and recent protests played a part in the decision to also cancel the Sydney route.


He said in a statement: 'Hong Kong has continued to be a challenging market.

'With a decline in demand following ongoing civil unrest, and growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in the wider region, we have made the decision to withdraw services.

Patients infected by the coronavirus rest at a makeshift hospital at Wuhan International Convention and Exhibition Center in Wuhan City

'While the decision to withdraw from the Hong Kong market has been a difficult one, it demonstrates our strong focus on driving greater financial discipline through our network.


'Current circumstances demonstrate that Hong Kong is no longer a commercially viable route for Virgin Australia to continue operating, however international tourism remains an important part of our strategy through our other international routes and partner airlines.'

Last month several airlines cancelled flights in and out of China as the coronavirus spread from Wuhan - but only Virgin has cancelled flights to Hong Kong.

DFAT's advice for Australians travelling to Hong Kong is to 'exercise a high degree of caution'.


All passengers entering or connecting in the city will have their temperatures checked and will not be allowed to board if they have a fever.

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This article first appeared on Daily Mail.

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