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Cruise ships from foreign ports banned to curb Coronavirus spreading

Cruise ships from foreign ports banned to curb Coronavirus spreading
March 15, 2020

Cruise ship arrivals from foreign ports will be banned for at least 30 days, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today, (Sunday 15th March) amid escalating efforts to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

People in some states could face hefty fines if they do not comply with new government restrictions aimed at containing the spread of Coronavirus, with the Prime Minister announcing strict new requirements for all people arriving in Australia to self-isolate for 14 days.

Prime Minister Morrison told reporters in Sydney that the first meeting of the national cabinet on Sunday had agreed to legislate offences for people who breach the self-isolation rule and escalated advice to others to undertake social distancing, including refusing handshakes and keeping a distance of 1.5 metres away from people.

State and Territory leaders say there are already existing laws through which they will enforce the new rules but they were also assessing on Sunday whether any changes would need to be made.

Penalties in some states include fines of thousands of dollars.

Ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announced that Tasmania would be banning cruise ships from docking to allay virus fears.

No more cruise ships will be allowed to dock in Tasmania until the end of June as the State Government steps up measures to protect Tasmanians from Coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases climbs to six.

Premier Gutwein emphasised “this is not a decision I make lightly, and one which has been done in careful consultation with senior members of our State Emergency Management Committee, Tasports and the tourism industry.

“While I know this places challenges on our tourism industry and visitor economy, I strongly believe we must act to make the decisions that best protect Tasmanians and help to manage COVID-19 risks to our state.

Premier Gutwein advised that TasPorts had been told that after a small liner stops in Hobart today to refuel and stock up on provisions, no more cruise ships will be allowed to dock in Burnie, Hobart or Port Arthur.

“We are in uncharted territory, and these are uncertain times.  Which is why we must act based on advice using the levers available to us to protect Tasmanians.

“I want to reassure Tasmanians that we will do all we can to maintain a level of economic stimulus and support business and Tasmanians. Yet, like the rest of the country and other nations, we will not be without impact.

“This week we will announce a Tasmanian Response Package, following last week’s Federal stimulus support for business."

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