After Australians flouted social distancing recommendations this weekend by flocking to public beaches and clubs, the country's federal, state and territory governments have determined an escalation to "Stage 1" restrictions is necessary.
Following a national cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the country would go into lockdown starting midday tomorrow, with closures to the following categories of indoor venues:
- Registered and licensed clubs;
- Licensed premises in hotels and clubs;
- Restaurants except for takeaway and delivery;
- Places of worship; and
- Cinemas and other indoor entertainment venues (this includes casinos).
With 1,315 cases of Covid-19 now in Australia, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy observed a disregard of social distancing measures by some younger Australians.
He noted many had taken the attitude they would not be high risk, and for most younger people this is true, but he urged them to take greater care in order to protect older and more vulnerable people.
The government has also decided to keep schools open, with Murphy pointing to discussions with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) that found there was very little evidence of transmission between schoolchildren both here and overseas.
It comes as a number of Australian states and territories begin to place restrictions on those coming in.
Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are imposing restrictions on those entering for 'non-essential travel', subjecting those coming into the states/territories to a 14-day quarantine period on arrival.
This mirrors the Federal Government's restrictions on those arriving in Australia from an overseas country who must self-quarantine for 14-days on arrival.
Updated at 9:39pm AEDT on 22 March 2020.
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