Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned Australians to expect further restrictions and intrusions into their daily lives while the government has taken further steps to stem the spread of coronavirus.
From midnight all people coming to Australia will have to self-isolate for 14 days, while cruise ships will be prohibited from arriving in Australian ports for the first 30 days.
While schools will remain open, “social distancing” will be increased and aged care facilities will be revised.
States will also consider their state of public health emergency.
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“We will have to make use of some or more changes in the next six months or so,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Sunday after a telephone connection with state and territory leaders under a new national cabinet.
“There will be further intrusions, further restrictions on the movement of people and their behavior.”
He said there has been extensive discussion on school closings, but the advice is that it would have a negative impact on tackling COVID-19.
This is because taking children out of school would expose them to the wider community and at the same time risk interrupting the availability of critical health workers while caring for their children.
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The government is clarifying its legal position when it comes to police powers, including whether fines can be imposed on people who break self-isolation requirements.
States reportedly supported the changes The Australian, who would be liable for penalties that could range from a 12-month prison sentence to fines of up to $ 50,000.
On Friday, the Council of Australian Governments took into account an expert opinion on the cancellation of all non-essential gatherings of over 500 people in Australia.
Major events, including the Melbourne Grand Prix, the Sydney Easter Show and the Vivid Light Festival, have been canned.
Sunday’s meeting came when the number of virus cases rose to over 300 in Australia, with the death toll remaining at three.
More than 150,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 worldwide, with over 5600 deaths.
Deputy Medical Director Paul Kelly said things change daily.
“What is different in Australia … we are not yet in the winter,” Professor Kelly told reporters.
“All the places where we are witnessing this virus are intensifying rapidly now, in other parts of the world, they are located in the northern hemisphere. They are in the last part of their winter months. “
On “social estrangement”, Morrison explained that there will be no more handshakes when he meets his cabinet colleagues and as a precautionary measure, the cabinet will meet more regularly with video conferencing.
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On the parliament itself, the prime minister said he is working on agreements with the president of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate. “We have important work to do when parliament resumes on Monday week and we will focus on this,” he said.
Australians are invited to do their part to help stem the spread of coronavirus as part of a national campaign.
A letter from Morrison, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy was published in newspapers across the country on Sunday, along with the latest information on COVID-19.
Encourage people to wash their hands frequently, to cover coughs and sneezes, to dispose of tissues and avoid contact with others if they are not feeling well.
“Containing the spread of an infection like COVID-19 depends on every Australian who does their part, taking care of their hygiene, looking for each other and staying informed,” reads the letter.
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews urged people not to stock up, saying that if people go out and buy two months of goods instead of two weeks, the shelves will soon be empty: “The only people who suffer then are vulnerable people who may not be they arrive at the stores or they can’t go to four different supermarkets to get the basics they need, “he told reporters in Melbourne.