"Don't go overseas." Everything we learnt from Scott Morrison's press conference.

— With AAP.

In a press conference on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, now officially known as COVID-19, within Australia.

Following advice from The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to travellers overseas to return to Australia as soon as possible, the Prime Minister announced that Australia has upgraded its international travel advice to the highest level, with all citizens being told not to travel overseas because of coronavirus. It’s the first time a ban of this magnitude has been implemented in Australia.

“Do not go overseas. That is very clear, that instruction,” the Prime Minister told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday morning.

“For those who are thinking of going overseas in the school holidays, don’t. Don’t go overseas.”

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

Video via Mamamia

Morrison added that the biggest risk of spreading the virus comes from Australians returning from travelling overseas.

“It is very important that Australians do not travel abroad at this time,” he said.

In line with other countries who have similar travel restrictions, Morrison said the travel ban was indefinite.

Limit indoor gatherings to 100 people.

Besides the existing ban on outside gatherings of 500 people or more, all indoor non-essential gathering of 100 people or more have also been banned. The ban is effective immediately.

As supermarkets, public transport, disability or aged care facilities, correctional facilities, mining sites, courts or tribunals, shopping centres, and hospitals are deemed as essential, they will not be included in the ban.


Major hubs like the Bourke Street Mall and Federation Square in Melbourne and Sydney’s Martin Place are also considered essential.

“Everything else is considered non-essential,” Morrison said.

Morrison added the restrictions on gathering may last for up to six months.

“We believe very strongly that it’s in the best interests of our children and the nation at this time to keep schools open,” he said.

Anzac Day events across the country will also be cancelled, with a televised event taking place from Canberra to allow people to join services remotely.

Schools will remain open. 

Despite the ban on mass gatherings, the Prime Minister said schools will remain open.

“The virus operates very differently among younger people. It presents a very different health challenge to the broader population,” Morrison said.

“The health advice I am happy to follow for my kids, is the same advice I am asking other parents to follow. As a father I am happy for my kids to go to school. Everything we do we have to do for six months. The disruption that would occur if we shut schools would be severe. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost,” he explained.

Morison also noted that Singapore have been able to curtail the spread of the virus while keeping schools open.


“In Singapore they have been quite effective in managing and limiting the transmission of this virus in that country,” Morrison told reporters.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said children had recorded very few instances of severe cases of coronavirus.

Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, decode the messages we’ve been given about COVID-19. Post continues below.

New rules for aged care facilities.

New rules have also been introduced for aged care facilities.

Moving forward, only two visitors at one time will be allowed in an aged care facility.

Anyone who has returned from overseas in the last two weeks, or who has come into contact with a confirmed case in the last two weeks, or is unwell, are prohibited from entering an aged care facility. These rules also extend to staff at aged care facilities.

In the case of end of live, relatives will be able to – under very strict measures – visit their deceased loved ones.

“We’ve got to protect our elderly for the long haul, for six months. And you cannot completely deny access to an elderly person in a residential facility to their closest next-of-kin,” the Prime Minister said.

“But we’ve got to make sure that those interactions are safe, very limited and again, with good social distancing.

“Every citizen now has to think about every interaction they have with another person during the day. No more hand shaking. No more hugging. No more scant attention to hand hygiene. Wash your hands all the time. Use hand sanitiser and just practice sensible practices.”

There is no lockdown in Australia.

The Prime Minister used the press conference to confirm that Australia isn’t going into lockdown yet.

“We are going to keep Australia running, we are going to keep Australia functioning, but it won’t look like it normally does,” he said.

“There is no short term quick fix,” he added.

“The idea you can turn everything off for two weeks and turn everything on again is not our way through this,” he added. “There’s ridiculous stuff circulating about lockdowns and such. There’s even recordings alleged to represent cabinet meetings. Avoid all that nonsense you’re seeing on social media. Opinions are interesting, but facts are important.”


Workplace management and supermarkets.

In terms of workplace management, Morrison said wherever possible we “need to keep Australians working”. He also praised employers who had ensured employees were working from home during the pandemic.

Morrison also responded to reports of panic buying and stockpiling across the nation, as supermarkets struggle to keep up with the high demand.

“Stop hoarding. I can’t be more blunt about it. Stop it,” he said.

“It’s not sensible, it’s not helpful and I’ve got to say it’s been one of the most disappointing things I’ve seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis. It’s ridiculous, it’s un-Australian, and it must stop.”

The Prime Minister also urged people not to abuse staff.

“We understand your concerns, but if you buy only what you need and stick to the product limits it helps everyone, especially the elderly and people with disability,” he said.

“No one working or shopping in any of our stores should experience abusive or aggressive behaviour.”

Feature Image: ABC News.

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