Scott Morrison says he “respectfully disagrees” with China’s embassy over complaints about an inbound travel ban and the idea Chinese travellers should be compensated.
“There’s a global virus and we are seeking to contain the virus,” the prime minister told reporters on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately there will be instances where there will be inconveniences for those who would have been in transit and travelling.
“That’s regrettable but you have to put Australia’s national interests first.”
China’s deputy ambassador to Australia has criticised an apparent lack of consultation or advanced notice on the travel ban.
Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining suggested Chinese travellers who could not get into the country should be compensated.
Australian officials tried to contact the Chinese government half an hour before the prime minister announced the travel ban on Saturday, but the call was not answered.
Chinese authorities returned the call five minutes after the press conference had started, and were told about the travel ban.
“Every best effort was made by the Australian government to contact in good faith,” Mr Morrison said.
The prime minister also pointed out nobody could rule out more restrictions within China in cities other than Wuhan.
He encouraged Australians in China to consider their options for flights out of the country.