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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison halts international travel and bans indoor gatherings of over 100
In a ramping up of efforts to counter the Coronavirus, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has this morning announced that non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned while recommending that Australians abandon international travel.
Advising that "we haven't seen this sort of thing in Australia since the end of the First World War", Prime Minister Morrison announced measures relating to events and gatherings, travel, aged care, shopping and schools.
Emphasising the call for Australians to stay 1.5 metres away from others, Prime Minister Morrison stated "this is a once-in-a-100-year-type event.
"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 new restrictions were agreed to following a tele-conference between with federal, state and territory leaders last night.
With the declaration of a human biosecurity emergency, the Federal Government now has extra powers to respond to the crisis.
While imposing the 100-person indoor restriction, the Government is also considering further restrictions on crowded indoor environments.
However, schools, universities, airports, public transport, medical and emergency services facilities, aged care homes, jails, courts, parliaments, supermarkets and many workplaces are exempt.
With the existing ban restricting mass outdoor gatherings to 500 people, first announced on Friday, to remain in place, the Prime Minister said religious gatherings must comply with the new measures.
Declaring that while air travel itself is low-risk, it is the movement of people from place to place was a problem, Prime Minister Morrison acknowledged that travel bans and a fall in tourist numbers are having a major economic impact.
Announcing that all international travel has been stopped, Prime Minister Morrison added “we are upgrading the travel ban on Australians to level 4 for the entire world.
“That is the first time that has ever happened in Australia’s history. The travel advice to every Australian is do not travel abroad. Do not go overseas.”
Prime Minister Morrison also pleaded with Australians to stop panic buying and hoarding, which has stripped supermarkets of supplies.
Additional information relating to "gyms, indoor fitness centres and swimming pools"
Further information published later in the day by the Prime Minister's Office includes the following extract "settings like gyms, indoor fitness centres and swimming pools are not required to close at this time providing they meet these requirements for social distancing and hand hygiene. Such venues should take actions to ensure regular high standards of environmental cleaning take place.
“… social distancing and hygiene practices should include:
• Being able to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between patrons.
• Hand hygiene products and suitable waste receptacles need to be available, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal.
The full statement can be found here www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures.
The latest information on Coronavirus can be viewed at www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
Article amended at 10pm, 18th March 2020 to include information relating to aquatic and fitness facilities.
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