Australia curbs gatherings, locks down travellers, in new coronavirus measures

Pablo Tucker
April 1, 2020

MELBOURNE, March 28 (Reuters) - Australia stepped up enforcement of social distancing rules on Saturday to contain community transmission of the novel coronavirus, implementing fines, closing beaches and threatening stricter measures if people defy pleas to stay at home.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks throughout a state memorial honouring victims of the Australian bushfires at Qudos Financial institution Enviornment in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, February 23, 2020. "We're ready now which permits us to management the unfold as a lot as doable".

Australia is strengthening limited contact rules for the public as it seeks to capitalise on a slowdown in the growth of new coronavirus cases.

Amid the extraordinary shutdown of businesses and resulting layoffs, the regulators and banks have taken measures to pause loan repayments for six months.

New South Wales and Victoria will fine people between A$1,000 (S$875) and A$1,600 for breaching the rules.

That has led to often contradictory messaging for the public on issues such as whether schools should remain open.

The small island state of Tasmania also imposed a two-person limit on public gatherings from midnight, and became the country's first state to ban people from alternating between their main home and their second home, if they have one.

The country's total number of confirmed coronavirus cases jumped by 469 to 3,635 on Saturday, the federal health ministry said, from less than 100 at the start of March.

"Victoria Police will not hesitate to take action against you, that is how serious this is".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced a six-month moratorium on landlords evicting renters on Sunday and urged companies to maintain off on extra job cuts till he unveiled a 3rd stimulus package deal.

The government has already announced aid worth over 100 billion dollars as Australia faces its first recession in nearly three decades.

Amid concerns distressed assets could be snapped up by overseas buyers, Australia said today that all foreign investment proposals would be assessed by the relevant government agency during the duration of the crisis. The change cuts the takeover threshold for FIRB scrutiny from A$1.2 billion, usually, to zero and applies to overseas consumers. "No one in my position enjoys doing this", Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Australia's borders are closed to all but returning citizens and permanent residents.

Both deaths are associated with travel on the Ruby Princess cruise ship, the state government confirmed.

Other reports by iNewsToday