PM announces strict rules for travellers to Australia

·News Reporter
·3-min read

The government has increased measures to stop the spread of coronavirus by enforcing stricter rules on people arriving in Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday that at midnight anyone arriving in Australia will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

“This is very important, what we've seen in recent weeks, is more countries having issues with the virus and that means the source of some of those transmissions are coming from more and more countries,” he told reporters.

“Bans have been very effective to date, what this measure will do is ensure particularly Australians who are the majority of people coming.

“When they come back to Australia, they are in self-isolation for 14 days.”

A passenger walks past a Qantas jet at the International terminal at Sydney Airport.
All travellers entering Australia will have to self-isolate for 14 days come Monday. Source: Getty Images

The government has already banned travellers from China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.

The new rule also includes people entering Australia on cruise ships from foreign ports which will be banned for 30 days.

When asked how it would work and be policed, Mr Morrison said as part of a “voluntary arrangement” Australians had honoured the advice.

“If your mate has been to Bali and they come back and they turn up at work and they are sitting next to you, they will be committing an offence so I think it's up to all of us that we are in ensuring it is in place,” he said.

“Australians will exercise common sense. This provides the backstop of a legal enforcement.”

As for what penalties people who don’t follow the rules might receive - that’s a matter for states and territories, Mr Morrison said.

PM’s update on schools, workplaces

Mr Morrison said advice the government has received from Australian Health Protection Principle Committee (AHPPC) is for schools, universities and most workplaces to remain open along with public transport.

Queensland’s education minister Grace Grace told the ABC on Sunday morning its schools would open their doors on Monday.

Mr Morrison reiterated “static nonessential” gatherings of more than 500 people shouldn’t take place though.

Scott Morrison is pictured.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says anyone entering Australia will have to self-isolate for 14 days starting Monday. Source: Getty Images

But the prime minister said individual states and territories would not be policing this.

“The principle of social distancing will apply in these settings but the AHPPC has advised this is for static, nonessential gatherings of persons, that they should not go ahead if there are more than 500 people will be in such a gathering,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison explained a “static gathering” is when people are seated for prolonged periods of time such as at a sporting stadium or a theatre.

No more handshakes

The prime minister said people need to ensure they refrain from physical contact for the time being.

That includes handshakes.

“That is a new thing we've moved to, something I will be practising, my cabinet members and others are now practising,” Mr Morrison said.

“This is not something that was necessarily a key requirement weeks ago but it's just another step up now.”

He added cabinet will now meet via video conferencing.

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