Australians have been told not to travel overseas to any country, as the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 continues to rise globally. While the restrictions on mass gatherings have been altered, with non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 persons or more now banned.
Scott Morrison spoke outside of Parliament House in Canberra this morning and addressed the ongoing coronavirus crisis in the country, following last night’s meeting of the newly formed national cabinet.
“We need to continue to keep our heads [and] focus on right information, helping and supporting each other each and every day to make changes that are absolutely necessary,” the prime minister said during a press conference just minutes ago. “We are going to keep Australia running, keep Australia functioning, it won’t look like it normally does, but it’s very important.”
He added: “A sit of at least 6 months is how we are dealing with this, it could be longer. It could be shorter, but that’s unlikely.”
The government has also upgraded travel restrictions for Australians, urging citizens not to travel anywhere overseas, as the advice applies to the “entire world”. The Level 4 travel ban unveiled by the PM this morning is the first of its kind in Australia.
“Do not travel abroad, do not go overseas,” Morrison said. “That is a very clear instruction, if you were thinking of going of overseas in the school holidays, don’t. This is an indefinite ban.”
He also announced that last week’s instruction to ban non-essential gatherings has now been altered, with the threshold of people allowed to be in one place indoors now lowered to 100. The limit for outdoor gatherings remains capped at 500.
This does not impact schools, public transport – which is classed as essential – or areas such as outdoor shopping malls like the Bourke Street Mall or Martin Place. While public transport will run as normal, the Coalition leader also declared that domestic air travel remains “low risk”.
The prime minister also announced that schools will remain open and urged parents to continue sending their children to school, unless they are unwell or present symptoms, and stressed that closing schools would only cause disruption.
And while aged care facilities will still allow visitors to enter, there will be stricter measures in place to limit the number of people allowed to visit elderly loved ones, including where they can meet within the facility. The limit will now see only two people at a time allowed to visit elderly residents.
Finally, the prime minister urged people to “stop it” when it comes to bulk buying supplies. He told hoarders they were one of the most “disappointing aspects” of the crisis. He stressed that it is not necessary and simply distracts from efforts needed elsewhere.