PM bans all overseas travel, restrictions on funeral attendance, penalties for profiteers

25 March 2020, Written by David Simmons

PM bans all overseas travel, restrictions on funeral attendance, penalties for profiteers

On Tuesday evening the Prime Minister held another Covid-19 press conference during which he sought to clarify the Federal Government's position on social distancing measures and travelling overseas.

Australians looking to leave the country will now be prohibited to do so under the Federal Government's powers in the Biosecurity Act.

The National Cabinet hopes this ban will reduce the risk of Australians returning to the country infected with coronavirus.

There are exemptions to the rule including for those citizens ordinarily resident overseas, where travel is essential or necessary, where travel is in Australia's national interest, and on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.

The PM and his National Cabinet have clarified the social distancing rules, building on the existing measures that are in place.

From 11.59pm (local time) tonight the following activities and venues will be prohibited:

  • Cafes (with the exemption of takeaway or home delivery)
  • Food courts (with the exemption of takeaway or home delivery)
  • Auction houses
  • Real estate auctions and open house inspections (with the exemption of private appointments for inspection)
  • Hairdressers and barber shops (with the exemption that appointments take less than 30 minutes and the one person per four square metre rule applies)
  • Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours
  • Spas and massage parlours
  • Cinemas, nightclubs
  • Casinos, gaming or gambling venues
  • Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums (with the exemption of live streaming which may be permissible with social distancing observed)
  • Amusements parks and arcades
  • Play centres (indoor and outdoor)
  • Community and recreation centres (with the exemption of opening for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services)
  • Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres
  • Boot camps, personal training operating outside and inside (with the exemption of outside events limited to no more than 10 people and social distancing must be exercised)
  • Social sporting-based activities
  • Swimming pools
  • Galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites
  • Libraries, community centres, and youth centres
  • Local government non-essential facilities and services
  • Community facilities (such as community halls, clubs, RSLs, PCYCs)
  • Places of worship
  • Weddings (with the exemption of weddings with a maximum attendance of no more than five people and where the one person per four square metre rule applies)
  • Funerals (with the exemption of funerals attended by a maximum of no more than 10 people and where the one person per four square metre rule applies).

"These will be significant sacrifices, I know," says PM Scott Morrison.

"We've all been to those events as extended families and gatherings and gathering together in that way, even around the large family table in the family home when all the siblings get together and bring the kids, these are not things we can do, now.

"All of these things present risks and they obviously present them to the elderly members of our families as well, who we need to protect."

The Federal Government has also announced it intends to take action against those exploiting panic and anxiety by profiteering off essential goods.

"These measures will help prevent individuals purchasing goods including face masks, hand sanitiser and vital medicines and either re-selling them at significant mark-ups or exporting them overseas in bulk, which prevents these goods from reaching people who need them in Australia," says the Federal Government.

The measures come as Australia records 2,144 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

There are 913 cases in NSW, 411 in VIC, 397 in QLD, 175 in WA, 170 in SA, 39 in ACT, 34 in TAS, and 5 in NT.

Eight people in total have died in Australia from the novel coronavirus.

Updated at 8:33am AEDT on 25 March 2020.

 
Author: David Simmons

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