More social distancing measures announced

Clay Curtis
March 24, 2020

"Sadly, also, and I know this will be very hard, funerals to no more than 10 persons observing the rules around the four-square metre rule and the social distancing practices".

Pubs, restaurants, cinemas and other venues are already off-limits and Australians are being urged to stay home and respect social distancing requirements as authorities try to curb the spread of the disease.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a press conference on Tuesday night that the number of people leaving Australia was now "very, very low" but there were still a number of people defying the do not travel advice and looking to head overseas for leisure travel.

"Funerals are to [be] no more than ten persons, observing the four-square metre rules and social distancing practices".

He said visits to homes, even with family, should be kept to a minimum and with very small numbers of guests. "But we need to put that arrangement in place".

There are going to be two stages of lockdowns for Australia.

"As soon as that direction is signed off by the health minister, it will come into force then and that will happen tomorrow", he said. After meeting with the National Cabinet, Morrison stated that significant measures will be put in place for the long-term and reviews would take place on a monthly basis as to what to do next.

Exceptions will be made for those providing aid work in the Pacific, on compassionate grounds and for essential employment. "No-one should be getting on a plane and going overseas", Mr Morrison said.

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Galleries, museums, youth centres, libraries, pools, community halls, clubs and places of worship should also close their doors.

The Prime Minister defended his position to keep schools open to keep parents in work.

Schools will continue to remain open despite increasing pressure for a nationwide shutdown.

"People shouldn't be doing it right now".

Australia's Chief Health Officer, Brendan Murphy, says he is very concerned by the rapid rise in COVID-19 diagnoses.

"We are very anxious about the rate of rise... it is a very, very steep growth and it's very concerning", he said.

"Describing widespread business closures as "heartbreaking events in our nation" s history", Mr Morrison said, "I want to assure all Australians that as the National and Federal cabinets meet, and State governments, we are not unconscious of the real impacts these measures are having on daily lives of Australians".

"These measures are really draconian ..."

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