Shutdown stage one: Everything we learnt from Scott Morrison's latest press conference.

Speaking in Canberra on Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison ordered clubs, pubs, churches and cinemas to close in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The Prime Minister and state and territory leaders on Sunday agreed that from noon today (Monday, March 23)  there would be new restrictions on a range of indoor venues, with the following closed: pubs, clubs, licensed venues within hotels, gyms, indoor sporting venues, entertainment venues, cinemas, casinos, restaurants and cafes will be restricted to “takeaway only”, churches and other places of worship. Hairdressers and beauticians will remain open.

“We now need to take action because we cannot have the confidence as a group of leaders that the social distancing guidelines and rules that we have put in place won’t be followed to the level of compliance that we require to flatten the curve and slow the spread and save lives,” Morrison said.

The current COVID-19 figures.

Referencing the behaviour of Australians over the weekend, Morrison said: “What we saw was a disregard of those social distancing practices. This sent a very clear message… that the social distancing practices are not being observed as they should be.”

Here’s what else the Prime Minister and Australia’s Chief Medical Officer had to say.

School closures.

Morrison said NSW schools will stay open until the end of term.

“Health advice has been clear and they have remained open and this is important because I want to stress this, I do not want to see our children lose an entire year of their education,” he said.

“What we will be doing though is allowing parents to the end of this year’s school term, to be able to keep their children at home where they choose to.

“But for all of those parents who wish to send their children to school, for an education at the school, those schools will remain open. In addition, schools will seek to provide learning at home in a distance learning framework but you cannot be assured that that will come in place immediately.”

WATCH: Some of your questions about the virus, answered. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

When asked about previous comments that children are ‘super spreaders’ of COVID-19, Chief Medical Officer for the federal government, Professor Brendan Murphy, said there is “no data internationally” to support this.


“We are not ruling it out. It is possible. But we think the risks and benefits are on the other side.

“We have been asked again by the national cabinet to consider next week which members of the workforce, both schools, healthcare, aged care, who are vulnerable because of their age and comorbidities should not be required to go to work.

“That is a very important issue and we need to protect the workforce in every scenario.”

Easter holidays.

Morrison warned the upcoming Easter break “will not be a holiday” as it traditionally has been.

“This term break will be like none other. This will not be a holiday as it is normally known for the break in term,” he said.

“There will not be trips interstate, there will not be those holiday normal type arrangements. There will not be congregating up at the trampoline venue or whatever it happens to be. That will not be happening. It won’t be a holiday as anyone has ever known it.

“And it is important I think that families and households understand that because over the course of the term break, we need to ensure that we continue to follow the very strict rules around social distancing.

“This is a critical time. An absolutely critical time. The decisions that parents make, that we all make, over the course of the next few weeks in particular could very seriously determine the trajectory that Australia continues to go on in relation to the coronavirus. So I would seek and implore Australians to follow this advice. You will be saving lives and you’ll be saving livelihoods.”

Changing our behaviour.

Professor Brendan Murphy said “some people haven’t got it” when it comes to how our lives have to change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m particularly talking to young people who may think they’re immune to the effects of this virus,” he said.

“It’s true, most young people don’t get significant disease. But as a young person you don’t want to be responsible for the severe and possibly fatal disease of an elder, vulnerable Australian.

“We have to stop the rapid spread of this virus. There has been very significant increase in cases over the last few days.”

Harsher measures.

The Prime Minister said if the ‘stage one’ measures are not followed by Australians, harsher measures may have to be enforced.

“As we’ve just made very clear, that when that doesn’t occur, then more dramatic measures have to be introduced,” he said.

“I would simply ask Australians to be calm and exercise some sensible judgement.”

With AAP.