Australia sets up bilingual hotline to support virus-affected international students

  • February 7, 2020


A hotline has been set up to help international students deal with concerns relating to coronavirus.

The hotline comprises of bilingual phone and email services. It has been activated as part of an effort to support affected students, with classes due to resume in the coming weeks.

According to Education Minister Dan Tehan, those affected could also access existing health and medical services, including Lifeline.

“We have established call centres that students can ring if they have any questions about their health or education,” he was quoted as saying by

According to the Health Department,the National Coronavirus Health Information Line is live on 1800 020 080, providing public health and situation informational. The line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will refer requests for medical advice to registered nurses on healthdirect – 1800 022 222.

International students with further questions can contact:

Similarly, people with difficulty breathing should call 000.

The Education Minister added that he has been in regular contact with Universities Australia and respective vice-chancellors to coordinate a response to the outbreak.

“We are dealing with the immediate issues of supporting international students impacted by the changed travel arrangements and exploring solutions to lessen the impact on their education,” he said.

Chancellor Julie Bishop of Australian National University in Canberra said the virus could impact up to 10 per cent of total revenue in the worst-case scenario.

“That would depend very much on whether we can continue to deliver the courses that the students have enrolled in,” she said.

The university has the capacity to quarantine students on campus but it has not yet had to do so.

It is investigating a number of options for affected students, including online courses, summer and winter intensive courses and deferrals without penalty.

Bishop denied the university was reliant on the Chinese market, saying it worked to attract students from all over the world.

There are roughly 164,000 Chinese students who attend university in Australia, pumping billions of dollars into the national economy.