Scott Morrison has called for Australians to immediately reconsider all non-essential domestic travel.
In a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and save lives across the country, the Prime Minister announced new social distancing measures will be put in place to protect Australians.
“After consulting with premiers and chief ministers overnight, we have decided that we are moving immediately to recommend against all non-essential travel in Australia,” Morrison told the press.
“All non-essential travel should be cancelled.
“We are referring to work-related and compassionate grounds of those types of arrangement is essential but also essential supplies and other important arrangements needed to keep Australia running.”
It comes after previously announced limits on social gatherings of 500 or more people outside were flouted at Bondi Beach on Friday, ignoring the government’s social distancing guidance, which advises keeping at least 1.5 metres between “yourself and others”.
Bondi Beach has since been temporarily closed by the New South Wales government.
Italy three weeks ago: 229 confirmed cases of COVID-19
Australia now: 876 confirmed cases
Italy now: 41,035 cases and 3,405 deaths
Bondi beach now: pic.twitter.com/2Js78OQwID
— Isabelle Truman (@isabelletruman) March 20, 2020
“What happened at Bondi Beach yesterday was not okay, and served as a message to federal and state leaders that too many Australians are not taking these issues seriously enough,” Morrison told the press over the weekend.
As of Sunday, there have been 1,098 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, with 224 new cases since Saturday.
The Prime Minister advised that further “more draconian measures” could be enforced by federal and state leaders to ensure social distancing if Australians do not take COVID-19 seriously enough.
As of noon Monday, the following facilities will be restricted from opening across the country:
- Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
- Gyms and indoor sporting venues
- Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
- Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
- Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per four-square-metre rule applies).
These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.
In addition, Morrison advised people who have interstate trips planned for the upcoming school holidays should cancel them, even to the extent that travellers should consider cancelling any travel outside what is essential, even within their state.
“We need every Australian to do their bit to save the lives of other Australians,” he said.
States have also announced the closure of their borders, with South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all requiring visitors from interstate to self-isolate for 14 days.
Featured image: iStock.com/narvikk