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"Exercise common sense." The key points from Scott Morrison's press conference.

— With AAP.

All non-essential Australian travel to be called off.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced all non-essential travel within Australia should be cancelled to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. This includes all interstate travel in Australia.

Morrison said people who had interstate trips planned for the upcoming school holidays should cancel them.

Essential travel means travel that facilitates essential work-related activities and some travel on compassionate grounds.

“Also when it comes to essential supplies and activities, movements of health workers and other important arrangements that are needed to keep Australia running,” Morrison told reporters on Sunday.

Morrison added that even within states, people should scrap travel that is not part of their standard routine.

“Australians can exercise their common sense about the things they know are non-essential,” he said.

Prime Minister announces virus aid for workers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced an “unprecedented” multibillion-dollar rescue package to soften the devastating economic impacts of the coronavirus on Australia.

The Federal Government announced a series of measures to help casual workers, sole traders, retirees and those on income support as part of its second $66 billion stimulus package.

The new measures include a new, time-limited coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

This supplement will be paid for the next six months at a cost of $14.1 billion.

In addition to the $750 stimulus payment announced on March 12, the government will provide a further $750 payment to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.

The government is also allowing individuals in financial stress as a result of COVID-19 to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2019/20 financial year and a further $10,000 in 2020/21.

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“These withdrawals will be tax-free and available to those who are eligible for the coronavirus supplement as well as sole traders who have seen their hours work, or income fall, 20 per cent or more as a result of the coronavirus,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said since announcing the first $17.6 billion package 10 days ago the global and domestic economic environment has deteriorated.

“We now expect the economic shock to be deeper, wider and longer,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

Scott Morrison on outrage over Bondi Beach.

Federal and state leaders are considering stricter measures to enforce social distancing, fearing too many Australians aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously enough.

The Prime Minister discussed the vision that emerged on Friday and Saturday of thousands of people at Bondi Beach, ignoring social distancing advice.

“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,” Mr Morrison said.

“The measures we will be considering tonight, means that state premiers and chief ministers, may have to take far more draconian measures, to enforce social distancing, particularly in areas of outbreaks, than might otherwise be the case.”

Federal and state leaders will meet again on Sunday evening to discuss stronger measures to deal with local outbreaks.

He stressed Australians can all help protect people’s lives and livelihoods.

“It’s a simple plea: we need you,” he said.

“We need you to do your bit, when it comes to social distancing, to keeping that healthy distance, to respecting and following the rules that we’re setting down.

“But more stronger measures will be coming, and they will be coming in more localised areas to deal with outbreaks.”

Current state of COVID-19 in Australia.

As of Sunday morning, March 21, there are 1072 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Australia. Every few hours, that number continues to rise.

At the time of reporting, there are 436 cases in New South Wales – the epicentre of coronavirus in Australia. There are 229 cases in Victoria, 221 cases in Queensland, 90 in Western Australia, 67 in South Australia, 16 in Tasmania, nine in the ACT and nine in the Northern Territory.

Read more about COVID-19:

The Australian Government Department of Health advises that the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those with symptoms who have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.


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