PM wants businesses to "hibernate" until recovery, forced quarantine for new arrivals
27 March 2020, Written by David Simmons & Matt Ogg
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will introduce a third stimulus package to put businesses into 'hibernation', alongside heightened border control measures in an effort to isolate those returning to Australia from overseas.
At a press conference today, the PM announced that from midnight (after 11:59PM) on Saturday 28 March those entering Australia will be forced to self-isolate in hotels and other accommodation facilities for two weeks to complete their quarantine period.
The harsh measures will be imposed given two thirds of Australia's more than 3,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 are from people returning from overseas.
The 14-day quarantine period for international arrivals will be enforced by State and Territory police along with extra support from the Australian Defence Force.
The new rule follows a recommendation from the Health Protection Principal Committee who said the single most important thing that can be done right now is to stop returning travellers from spreading the virus to Australians.
These new quarantine measures, which the PM hopes will slow the rate of infection within Australia, come in conjunction with a brief announcement that the Government is working on a third stimulus package that will effectively place Australian businesses into a state of "hibernation".
This package is still being worked on and details of the package will be released in the coming days.
It is part of what the PM calls a "battle on two fronts" being fought by the Federal Government: the public health crisis and the economic crisis.
"We want these businesses to effectively go into hibernation, which means on the other side, the employees come back, the opportunities come back, the economy comes back," says the PM.
"No decision that we're taking on the health front is being taken lightly."
"Every day someone is in a job is worth fighting for."
As reported earlier today by the ABC, the package will ideally see business owners able to emerge after the Covid-19 crisis without having to walk away from their companies.
It is expected that the package will include measures that will waive all overheads including rents and mortgage repayments, meaning banks, lenders and landlords will likely have to make sacrifices.
He hopes that those in commercial arrangements like landlords & tenants and employers & employees will communicate with one another to come to agreements.
"What's sensible is to understand the economic environment we're in and to see that on the other side it's in everybody's interest that everybody gets through," says the PM.
With regards to residential tenancies, the PM says there is "work being done" with state premiers to ensure a consistent approach for renters nationally.
According to the PM, Australia currently has the highest rate of testing in the world with 180,000 tests completed so far in per capita terms. South Korea is hot on our heels.
The PM commended the efforts of Australians to self-isolate thus far, citing how the movement of people around metropolitan areas has fallen by approximately 80 per cent.
"Thank you, keep doing it, you're saving lives and you're saving livelihoods," says the PM.
"This has been a significant shift and we need to see it keep taking place all around the country. We've called on you as Australians to come together in this effort and the response has been simply magnificent.
"Businesses are adapting as well. Distilleries are making hand sanitizer, large companies like Woolworths are completely changing how they do things and are employing more Australians, cafés are changing how they do things - businesses are being agile and they're adapting even under significant strain and stress."
Updated at 2:44PM AEDT on 27 March 2020.
Author: David Simmons & Matt Ogg