"It's a mixed message." Karl Stefanovic questions Scott Morrison's decision to keep schools open.

On Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the new ways the Australian Government is working to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Appearing in a press conference, Morrison announced the federal government has imposed a self-isolation requirement on all international arrivals to Australia, meaning all people coming to Australia from overseas will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Likewise, cruise ships will be banned from arriving at Australian ports for the next 30 days.

Watch: Mamamia’s Claire Murphy breaks down your most asked questions about COVID-19. Post continues below. 

Video by Mamamia

The federal government has also put a ban on non-essential public gatherings with over 500 people.

Despite the ban, however, the Prime Minister confirmed that schools and universities will remain open.

It was a decision that left many parents and teachers feeling confused.

As the Prime Minister appeared on the Today show on Monday morning, Karl Stefanovic asked the one question that thousands have been asking.

“On one hand you’re saying don’t come within one-and-a-half metres of each other socially, but our kids are a lot closer in the classroom. It’s a mixed message, isn’t it?” Stefanovic asked Morrison.

“These aren’t absolute measures, Karl. What we’re seeking to do is lower the risk of the spread,” Morrison responded.

“Where practical, those social distancing arrangements should be put into place, such as the one-and-a-half metres, no more handshakes, coughing into a handkerchief or into your elbow, avoiding the elderly, etc. All of those things should be administered when practical,” he continued.

“You can’t manage every single risk in the community and any suggestion that all of these measures can achieve that to the end’s degree would not be practical.

“It’s about the sensible way of reducing the risk. The more we slow this virus down, the more we can support those that are most vulnerable.”


Since the announcement was made on Sunday, many parents have brought up the fact that many schools across the county have far more than 500 people in them. It was a sentiment that host Allison Langdon echoed.

“Most schools have more than 500 people in them. These kids are then close together. They go home, they interact with their grandparents. Are we really doing what is safest for the wider community by allowing schools to stay open?” she asked the Prime Minister.

“Where there are individual outbreaks in particular areas, as has been happening in NSW and Victoria, there are arrangements that are put in place specifically for those schools,” Morrison responded.

“Schools are already making changes. They aren’t having assemblies and students will be in classrooms rather than large gatherings in their schools,” he added.

“We also want to ensure that nurses can keep turning up to work and not have to be at home looking after their kids. ”

Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, finds out what life is really like in COVID-19 lockdown. Post continues below.

Stefanovic responded: “As a parent I have to say to you PM, I find this confusing and disturbing that it’s almost okay for our kids to be in any area where there’s more than 500 kids, they’re right next to each other at school. I don’t want my child to get this.”

In the press conference on Sunday, Morrison said that the closure of schools would have a negative impact on society, as children’s interactions with the wider community would increase.

“The aim is to protect those most at risk,” Morrison said on Sunday.

“Just because something isn’t necessary today, doesn’t mean it won’t be necessary in three weeks.”

Read: OPINION: ‘Closing schools isn’t only about protecting students.’

China, Turkey, France, Israel, Greece, Spain, Italy, Japan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and Ireland, are among the countries who have closed all schools and universities to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with many urging people to work from home if possible.

At the time of publication, over 153,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Feature Image: Channel Nine.

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