Int'l students to return to Australia within weeks under pilot program

FILES: Chinese graduates are seen at the campus of University of Sydney, Australia, June 5, 2019.

CANBERRA-- International students will return to Australia in October after Charles Darwin University (CDU) received approval to conduct a pilot program.



The university in Northern Territory (NT) announced on Monday that it has received government approval to fly up to 70 students into Darwin from Singapore in late October.



According to information from the university's official website, the students, who are likely to come from a range of countries including China, will become the first international students since the federal government closed borders to international travellers in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.



Upon arrival in the NT they will spend 14 days in quarantine before beginning classes at CDU on Nov. 9.



"This is a breakthrough for Australia and particularly CDU, the institution closest to Asia and the logical city to be piloted as the first safe corridor," Andrew Everett, CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Strategy and Advancement, said in a statement.



"International students contribute an estimated 99 million Australian dollars (71.1 million U.S. dollars) to the NT economy each year and support almost 500 jobs. It is hoped that the success of the pilot will help contribute to the recovery of the NT economy.



"CDU's international students make up approximately 10 percent of our student cohort and are critical to the university's growth."



Universities in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and South Australia (SA) postponed their own plans to fly international students into Australia in July and August respectively over concerns over quarantine arrangements.



Everett on Monday reassured the NT community that all health and safety measures would be strictly maintained.



"The health and safety of the Northern Territory community is CDU's highest priority," he said.



"CDU is adhering to the advice of the Chief Health Officer on all aspects relating to health and safety, including pre-departure health requirements, COVID-19 testing and quarantine upon arrival. CDU staff will also deliver pastoral care to support students' wellbeing."


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