NEWS
29/03/2020 7:08 PM AEDT | Updated 30/03/2020 9:28 AM AEDT

Coronavirus In Australia: Gatherings Restricted To 2 People, Everyone Advised To Stay Home

"Anyone who doesn’t need to be out of their home should be in the home.  This is radical.”

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Scott Morrison is urging people to stay home unless going to the grocery store or seeking medical attention.

At least 3,978 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Australia and 16 people have died.

New South Wales has the highest statistic at 1,791 cases.

The virus has killed more than 23,500 people worldwide.

Scott Morrison said in a press conference on Sunday that the rate of increase in Australia has been falling. 

“Towards this time last week the day daily rate of increase was up around 30% and today’s increase is around 9%,” he said. 

“There are no guarantees about how that goes forward.” 

Here are the updates from the prime minister’s press conference. 

Gatherings

Up until Sunday, gatherings have been restricted to 10 people in an outdoor area, this advice has now changed to two people. 

Morrison said it will be up to states and territories to enforce this advice with penalties such as “very significant on the spot fines.” 

Sunday’s strong advice is that people must stay home unless shopping for groceries, seeking medical care or caring for others, to exercise or to attend work or school - if that can’t be done remotely. 

“You must stay at home except for the following reasons: A, shopping for what you need - food and other essential supplies that enable you to remain at home and to do that shopping as infrequently as possible,” Morrison said. 

“B, for medical care or compassionate needs. C, to exercise in compliance with the public gathering rules that I have already outlined. And D, for work and education if you cannot work or learn remotely. Also, we are going further this evening, on the basis of the advice.” 

The PM said public playgrounds, outside gyms and skate parks will be closed as from tomorrow and work out sessions must be limited to two people. 

He added, “unless it’s your household, the family, those that are living at your residence” do not go outside with more than one person and do not go out to socialise. 

Catching Up With Friends And Outings 

When asked why shopping centres will remain open given the new two-people restriction, Morrison emphasised his advice to Australia is to “only be going out to shop for things that you actually need” as infrequent as possible. 

“It is not a time for browsing,” he added.

“It is not a time for catching up with friends or bumping into people and having a long conversation and maybe drawing a few other friends across to catch up on how is it all going.

“No, you can’t do that anymore. That is what we have to stop doing.”

“It is not a time for catching up with friends or bumping into people and having a long conversation... No, you can’t do that anymore."Prime Minister Scott Morrison

 

Stay At Home 

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has urged Australians to keep staying at home. 

“We need to all stay home unless we are going out to shop, to do personal exercise, to go to medical appointments, or to go to work or study if you can’t work from home,” he said at Sunday’s press conference. 

“So anyone who doesn’t need to be out of their home should be in the home.  This is radical.” 

Indigenous People Over 50 To Stay At Home  

The prime minster has urged Indigenous people over 50 years of age to stay home and self-isolate for their own protection. 

This advice, which is not compulsory, also goes for people with a chronic illness and people in the wider community over the age of 60. 

“This does not mean they cannot go outside,” Morrison explained. 

“They can go outside and be accompanied by a support person for the purposes of getting fresh air and recreation but should limit contact with others as much as possible.”

Moratorium On Evictions For 6 Months

The PM said state and territory governments would excuse people or businesses who were unable to meet their rent due to coronavirus-caused financial stress. 

“There would be a moratorium on evictions for the next six months under those rental arrangements,” he told reporters.

“My message to tenants, particularly commercial tenants, and commercial landlords, is a very straightforward one – we need you to sit down, talk to each other and work this out about looking at the businesses which have been closed, businesses that may have had a significant reduction in their revenues.”