PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has just announced further restrictions for Australia in response to the unfolding COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation.
First and foremost is a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.
This applies to all venues – bars, restaurants, clubs, pubs, nightclubs, the lot. There’s also no exception for churches, mosques or synagogues.
“That is effective now, as of today and those arrangements, in terms of the legal enforcement of those measures are being put in place by the states and territories,” Mr Morrison said.
The PM did not give specifics on how the ban would be applied. Health Minister Greg Hunt said earlier venues should remain open but with greater restrictions and social distancing rules.
The travel ban for every Australian is being upgraded to level four – do not travel – for the entire world.
“That is the first time that has ever happened in Australia’s history,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison says the health advice is that schools should remain open. “Interestingly, this is also what Singapore has done,” he said.
“Singapore has been one of the more successful countries. In Singapore, the schools are open.” There is “only one reason your kids shouldn’t be going to school and that is if they are unwell”.
Visits to aged care facilities are being severely restricted.
Staff and visitors who have returned from overseas in the last 14 days will be banned, as will those who have been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case in the last two weeks.
Also banned will be anyone with fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection, and those who haven’t had a flu vaccination after May 1.
No school groups of any size will be allowed, and children under the age of 16 should be visiting “only by exception”.
Visits will be limited to a maximum of two people at one time.
The Prime Minister also discussed bulk purchasing of supplies saying “stop hoarding.”
“I can’t be more blunt about it. Stop it. It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.
That is not who we are as a people. It is not necessary. It is not something that people should be doing.
What it does is distract attention and efforts that need to be going into other measures, to be focusing on how we maintain supply chains into these shopping centres.”