The federal government has announced that all international arrivals will be quarantined in hotels for two weeks of mandatory self-isolation to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The new measure came into place at midnight on 28 March and will be enforced by state and territory governments, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a press conference.
Members of the Australian Defence Force will be deployed to assist police in enforcing these measures as well as making sure Australians who arrived before Saturday are complying with self-isolation protocols.
“Earlier throughout the day, some 1,600 people went into quarantine as a result of the decisions taken by the National Cabinet on Friday,” the Prime Minister said on Saturday.
“That was an extraordinary effort to put that in place from midnight last night and I congratulate Premier Berejiklian and everyone who has been involved, Commissioner Mick Fuller, the whole team in New South Wales working so well with us today to ensure we can put those arrangements in place.
“And to those who may be even watching this now from inside those hotels where you are self-isolating, I know this is a terrible inconvenience for you but it is necessary to save lives.
“And we thank you for your cooperation this evening.”
This comes as Western Australia gets ready to roll out new restrictions preventing people from moving between regions.
In a media statement, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced that from midnight on Tuesday, restrictions will be placed on travel within the entire State of Western Australia.
Western Australians will not be allowed to leave their regional boundary unless for employment, medical or emergency reasons.
Those who don’t comply face fines of up to $50,000.
“It is absolutely vital that Western Australians abide by these restrictions, to help protect themselves, their family and the wider community,” McGowan said.
“My message to Western Australians is this – stay home, do not travel within WA, and please continue to observed the social distancing rules.”
According to ABC News, McGowan has also said the state is considering a hard border closure to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“West Australians who are still over east, if you want to come home, come home now,” he said.
“If you are not a West Australian and you want to come to Western Australia don’t come. We don’t want you. Stay at home.”
Tasmania has also stepped up its measures, with Premier Peter Gutwein announcing all non-essential travellers who arrived after midnight on Sunday would be placed into a government-operated facility.
ABC News reported the new rule applies to both Tasmanians and non-Tasmanians.
“Any non-essential traveller arriving in the state, either through our airports or through our ferry port, will be placed into self-quarantine for 14 days in a government-run facility,” he said.
“[These new measures] will be the toughest in the country. We need to ensure that we protect Tasmanian lives.”
Featured image credit: iStock/Tero Vesalainen