On Wednesday 18th March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced restrictions being put in place to address the spread of coronavirus in Australia. He stressed this is not a two-week solution it is most likely to be six months.
“Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world. Life is going to continue to change.
“The travel advice to every Australian is do not travel abroad. Do not go overseas.”
The Prime Minister has announced that:
- The Federal Government is advising Australians not to travel overseas, and says that advice will remain in place indefinitely;
- Indoor gatherings of more than 100 people are banned but schools, universities, airports, public transport, medical and emergency services facilities, aged care homes, jails, courts, parliaments, supermarkets and many workplaces are exempt;
- Work restrictions on 20,000 student nurses have been lifted, so that they can help with the health response;
- A human biosecurity emergency has been declared, giving the Federal Government extra powers to respond to the crisis;
- There are new rules restricting visits to aged care homes; and
- Schools will remain open for the foreseeable future, based on the advice of health officials.
Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy urged Australians to continue social distancing at least 1.5 metres apart.
“No more hand-shaking, no more hugging, except in your family,” Dr Murphy said.
“No more scant attention to hand hygiene. Wash your hands all the time. Use hand sanitiser and just practice sensible practices.”
Mr Morrison also pleaded with Australians to stop panic buying and hoarding, which has stripped supermarkets of supplies.
“I can’t be more blunt about it. Stop it,” he said.
The Prime Minister said there were no supply shortages and that health experts had advised the Government there was no need for “bulk purchases”.