Australia strengthens self isolation rules for returning citizens as coronavirus spreads

Clay Curtis
March 27, 2020

A strong response from Australians everywhere has enabled the COVID-19 containment focus to shift towards increasingly strict controls over returning travellers, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today.

He said that by 11pm on Saturday, Australians returning home will be quarantined for the 14-day period of their isolation in hotels and other accommodation facilities.

"We might have to keep our distance but we don't have to disconnect from each other".

"We're not kidding ourselves - if community transmission becomes significant, that is the real serious concern", Murphy said.

Australia has already closed its borders to everyone but Australian citizens or residents returning home.

Air and maritime crews will be required to continue to undertake the existing precautions they are following where they self-isolate in their accommodation if they enter Australia until their next work voyage.

PM Morrison said, "We believe these important actions are the most important we can take right now because of what you've done, Australia".

Last Friday, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB all said they would extend a program by the Australian Banking Association to defer loans to small businesses to include their home loan customers.

"I promise you we will be doing more", he said. We will not take them for a matter of convenience.

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As the Government prepares to unveil its third economic rescue package "within days", policies are being developed to help business owners see out the crisis without having to walk away from their companies.

Mr Morrison said the ADF are not authorised as enforcement officers, which remains the responsibility of the police, but will assist with compliance where necessary.

"We want those businesses to start again".

Restaurants and cafes are only allowed to serve takeaway food and drinks in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, while personal service businesses, such as beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlors have been forced to close.

He said the package was created to reduce the weight of debts and liabilities on businesses during the crisis.

"This will underpin our strategy as we go to the third tranche of our economic plan, and that will include support by states and territories on managing the very hard issue of commercial tenancies and also dealing ultimately with residential tenancies as well".

On childcare, he said they are working on a plan to deal with the premises around the country.

"As time has gone on, the risk of those who are returning from other parts of the world actually increases", Morrison said in a televised briefing.

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