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Coronavirus Australia: Scott Morrison advised on lockdown

The decision on whether Australia moves to even harsher restrictions on public movement, and even a total lockdown, will depend on whether there the number of locally-transmitted cases of COVID-19 grows.

The health experts advising Scott Morrison have revealed a substantial growth in such cases would be a ‘trigger point’.

The prime minister met with the National Cabinet on Tuesday to discuss further restrictions as national cases of coronavirus soared past 2,000 and the death toll climbed to eight.

Last night Mr Morrison announced a raft of new measures: limiting the number of people at weddings and funerals, closing food courts at shopping centres and shutting beauty salons, but stopped short of a complete shutdown.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) said in a statement on Monday the cabinet asked for advice on triggers to introduce stronger measures. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a raft of new measures on Tuesday night - including limiting the number of people at weddings and funerals, closing food courts at shopping centres and shutting beauty salons - but stopped short of a complete shutdown

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a raft of new measures on Tuesday night – including limiting the number of people at weddings and funerals, closing food courts at shopping centres and shutting beauty salons – but stopped short of a complete shutdown

Takeaway services at restaurants, cafes and food courts will still be allowed to operate for take-away

Takeaway services at restaurants, cafes and food courts will still be allowed to operate for take-away

‘Previously AHPPC considered an important trigger in a given area to be when more than 50 per cent of cases are locally transmitted,’ the statement said.

‘But recent international evidence suggests that action needs to be taken earlier than that point, given the lag in epidemiology.’

AHPPC said Australia is close to 50 per cent community transmission – as opposed to people bringing it in from overseas.

It said the ‘major trigger’ is ‘the rapid growth in total cases and the case-load particularly in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane/Gold Coast.’

The ‘call for action’ is based on the principle of getting ahead of the curve, AHPPC said. 

‘A trigger for local lockdown provisions in a part (or parts) of the country (as seen in Italy and elsewhere) would be a substantial growth in locally transmitted cases.

‘Which could be predicted to exceed the future capacity of the region’s health services.’ 

By analysing the first 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in Australia, the AHPPC argued the situation was different to the runaway infection rates seen in Italy and the United States. 

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) said in a statement on Monday the cabinet asked for advice on triggers to introduce stronger measures. Pictured: A group eat together in central Brisbane on Tuesday

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) said in a statement on Monday the cabinet asked for advice on triggers to introduce stronger measures. Pictured: A group eat together in central Brisbane on Tuesday

The health experts advising Scott Morrison have revealed a substantial growth of in locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 would be a 'trigger point' for total lockdown

The health experts advising Scott Morrison have revealed a substantial growth of in locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 would be a ‘trigger point’ for total lockdown

Social sports such as large groups of people playing soccer in a park have also banned, and boot camps and personal training will be restricted to a maximum of 10 people

Social sports such as large groups of people playing soccer in a park have also banned, and boot camps and personal training will be restricted to a maximum of 10 people

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 2,317

New South Wales: 1029

Victoria: 466

Queensland: 397

Western Australia: 175

South Australia: 170

Australian Capital Territory: 39

Tasmania: 36 

Northern Territory: 5

TOTAL CASES:  2,317

DEAD: 8

‘More than half our cases are still imported from overseas or their direct contacts. We have one of the lowest COVID-19 test positivity rates in the world,’ the AHPPC said, crediting that to early detection and control work.

Italy’s death toll rose by 743 on Tuesday, the second highest daily tally since the outbreak emerged in northern regions on February 21. 

Italy has seen more fatalities than any other country, with latest figures showing that 6,820 people have died from the infection in barely a month. There are also more than 69,000 confirmed cases of infection.

A lockdown imposed on March 12 in Italy has been extended beyond the original 25 March end date. Nearly all Italians have been told to stay at home. 

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) said in a statement on Monday the cabinet asked for triggers to introduce stronger measures. 'A trigger for local lock down provisions in a part (or parts) of the country (as seen in Italy and elsewhere) would be a substantial growth in locally transmitted cases,' they said

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) said in a statement on Monday the cabinet asked for triggers to introduce stronger measures. ‘A trigger for local lock down provisions in a part (or parts) of the country (as seen in Italy and elsewhere) would be a substantial growth in locally transmitted cases,’ they said

A lockdown imposed on March 12 in Italy has been extended beyond the original 25 March end date. Nearly all Italians have been told to stay at home. Pictured: A woman jogs in Turin, Italy on Tuesday

A lockdown imposed on March 12 in Italy has been extended beyond the original 25 March end date. Nearly all Italians have been told to stay at home. Pictured: A woman jogs in Turin, Italy on Tuesday

There was speculation Mr Morrison could announce the Italy-style home lockdowns on Tuesday night, but health officials advised the ‘trigger point’ had not been reached. 

In NSW, which has emerged as Australia’s coronavirus epicentre, just under half of the state’s cases were transmitted locally, but a large majority of infections in other states and territories were acquired overseas. 

The additional closures announced on Tuesday night added to earlier closures of pubs and clubs, entertainment venues, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs, indoor sports venues, including gyms, and places of worship were ordered to close as part of ‘stage one’ restrictions rolled out on Monday.

Mr Morrison announced there is now an outright ban on travelling internationally, with some exceptions such as aid workers and compassionate travel. Pictured: People wear hazmat suits at Sydney Airport on Tuesday

Mr Morrison announced there is now an outright ban on travelling internationally, with some exceptions such as aid workers and compassionate travel. Pictured: People wear hazmat suits at Sydney Airport on Tuesday

AUSTRALIA’S NEW TRAVEL BAN EXPLAINED:

Advice was already in place, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommending Australians not travel, but the new measure will make it an enforced ban.

Exceptions will be made for aid workers, some other government and commercial workers, and people seeking to go overseas on compassionate grounds – meaning some flights will still go ahead.

The precise timing of the ban is yet to be determined but it is expected to occur on Wednesday.

‘The number of people who are leaving Australia now is very, very low,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday.

‘But it strikes me on those numbers there are people defying that advice and looking to go overseas on leisure travel.

‘They can’t do that because when they come home, they put Australians at risk.’

In a further crackdown, personal service businesses ‘where there is a lot of contact’, such as beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours, physio therapists, and allied health services, will be forced to shut.

Hairdressers and barbershops will remain open provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines and limit the number of people on their premises.

‘It is very important to strictly manage the social distancing and limitations of the number of people in their premises, so that’s four square metres per person,’ the prime minister said.

‘On top of that, to restrict the amount of time a patron is in the premise to no more than 30 minutes.’

Real estate auctions and open houses will also no longer be allowed to take place.

Social sports such as large groups of people playing soccer in a park have also banned, and boot camps and personal training will be restricted to a maximum of 10 people.

Yoga and barre sessions, as well as spinning and other exercise sessions, can continue so long as they abide by the 10 people or fewer rule as well.

By analysing the first 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in Australia, the AHPPC argued the situation was different to Italy and America. 'Our early detection and control work was effective,' the statement said. Pictured: Prime Minister Scott Morrison

By analysing the first 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in Australia, the AHPPC argued the situation was different to Italy and America. ‘Our early detection and control work was effective,’ the statement said. Pictured: Prime Minister Scott Morrison

‘You can see what we’re trying to do, limit the gathering of people in large numbers that can relate to the transmitting of the virus through the social interactions which are not considered necessary,’ Mr Morrison said.

As for travel, the government had previously issued a do-not-travel warning on its Smart Traveller website pertaining to all overseas trips.

Mr Morrison announced there is now an outright ban on travelling internationally, with some exceptions such as aid workers and compassionate travel.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia soared past 2,100 on Tuesday as the number of positive results emerging in NSW – the country’s worst-affected state – continues to grow at an alarming rate.

Many of the newly identified cases of COVID-19 came from a cruise ship whose passengers were allowed to disembark last week even though several showed signs of illness.

The national death toll rose to eight on Tuesday after an elderly woman who was on board the Ruby Princess died from the disease.

AUSTRALIA’S NEW RESTRICTIONS

The government is looking to limit interactions between groups, particularly any event or gathering with 10 or more people.

The new restrictions, from 11.59pm on March 25, mean:   

BUSINESS

* Food courts in shopping centres will only be available for takeaway food. No sitting.

* Auction houses will shut. Auctions and open house inspections are banned.

* Outdoor and indoor markets are banned while rules around major food markets will be addressed by states and territories.

* Personal services such as beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlours (but not physiotherapy) are banned.

* Hairdressers and barbers can continue but must strictly manage social distancing and restrict the amount of time a patron can be in the premises to no more than 30 minutes.

* Amusement parks and arcades, and indoor and outdoor play centres must close.

* Boot camps and personal training must be limited to 10 people and enforce social distancing.

* Social sports such as large groups of people playing soccer in a park are banned.

* Galleries, museums, libraries, youth centres, community halls, clubs, RSLs and swimming pools must close.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

* Weddings can continue to be conducted where it is just the couple the celebrant and two witnesses, no more than five people.

* Funerals are limited to no more than 10 people.

SCHOOLS

* It is safe to send children to school up to the end of the term.

* But some pupil-free days will be needed to plan distance learning.

* Schools will reopen after the term break with a mix of distance learning and in-school learning for all “essential workers”.

* PM to meet with teachers and other sector representatives about keeping schools open and protecting staff.

ESSENTIAL WORKERS

* Everyone who still has a job is an essential worker.

TRAVEL

* The official “do no travel” warning is now an outright ban on overseas travel, with some exceptions such as aid workers and compassionate travel. Exact time for ban to start yet to be set.

EXPORTS

* New offence of profiteering and seeking to export goods overseas, relating to such things as medical supplies and masks.

  

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Written by Angle News

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