Australia

Scott Morrison tells Australians to stay home unless 'absolutely necessary' to go out

Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference in the Blue Room at Parliament House. Source: Getty

Scott Morrison has announced a range of new measures to stop people gathering.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged Australians to stay home except for essential trips, ordering more businesses to close to stop people gathering. 

On Tuesday, Mr Morrison told Australians to only leave the house when "it is absolutely necessary you go out".

He said Australians should continue working but it was "strongly encouraged to work from home".

From midnight on Wednesday, beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlours will no longer be allowed to operate. 

All libraries, museums and galleries will also close. 

Food courts in shopping centres will be forced to close, except for takeaway.

Amusement parks and arcades have also been ordered to shut.

Hairdressers and barber shops can continue their services but hair cuts cannot last more than 30 minutes.

Outdoor personal training and boot camps can continue, but with a limit of 10 people and social distancing arrangements must be strictly enforced.

A closed restaurant in Sydney.
A closed restaurant in Sydney.
AAP

Weddings will be limited to five people and funerals to 10 people.

"Large gatherings brought together by particular organised events are things we are seeking to avoid," Mr Morrison said.

Asked why only five people could attend a wedding, but 10 people could participate in an outdoor fitness session, Mr Morrison defended the government's approach.

"What we are talking about is up to 10 for training, that is a business, that is someone's livelihood and you are saying that I should turn their livelihood off ... I am not going to be cavalier about people's jobs and their businesses."

As Australia's virus tally reached 2,136 on Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy said he was "very worried".

"We are very worried about the rate of rise of the number of coronavirus cases in Australia, particularly over the last few days," he said.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy.
AAP

"We have to change the way we interact, as human beings, in our society, for quite a long time. This virus will be with us for some time.

"We have to all think about avoiding any unnecessary interactions where you are close to someone and could place them at risk."

The Federal Government has stopped short of implementing a lockdown as other countries including the United Kingdom have done.

Mr Morrison acknowledged there were some in the community calling for a full lockdown. 

"Be careful what you wish for on something like that. Be very careful. Because that would need to be sustained for a very long time.

"And that could have a very significant and even more onerous impact on life in Australia."

Australians must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Indoors, there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor, don’t visit, or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

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