In a novel response to the Coronavirus crisis, Australia is bending its rules and conscripting foreign nursing students to help treat coronavirus patients.

 

Prime minister Scott Morrison said work restrictions would be lifted on approx 20,000 international nursing students. “They’re going to be available to support the health effort right across the country, as directed by our health officials,” he told a March 18th press conference.

 

“We’re not importing nurses into Australia,” he added. “That would obviously be against travel advice. [These] international student nurses have been in Australia for some time.”

 

The decision means foreign nursing students will no longer be subject to the 40-hour per fortnight work limit that normally applies to international students during college semesters. This news comes five days after the government lifted the 40-hour restriction on foreign students who stack supermarket shelves, to help keep grocery supplies flowing in the face of panic buying.