Public gatherings now limited to two people: PM

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that public gatherings will now be limited to just two people.

"States and Territories will determine whether they proceed to make this an enforceable limit in the same way that the 10-person limit is already being enforced," Mr Morrison said.

The Prime Minister also announced that outdoor gyms, skate parks and boot camps will be closed from tomorrow.

Mr Morrison said all Australians must stay home unless they are shopping for food, need to receive medical care, for work or education purposes or for exercise (as long as it's no more than two people).

He also advised Australians over 70 "on the basis of strong advice" to stay at home and self-isolate "for their own protection".

"To the maximum extent practical," Mr Morrison said.

"This is for their own protection to limit their interaction with others in the community," he said, reflecting Australians' lack of social distancing over the weekend.

 

Earlier, young Australians were warned they are putting other lives at risk after a number of house parties and social outings were caught in the act.

In a press conference on Sunday, the Prime Minister made a direct point to Australians, particularly in their 20s and 30s, who seem to have the "view that because they are healthier that they are not transmitters of the virus".

"They are transmitters of the virus," Mr Morrison said earlier Sunday.

"While they themselves may only have a mild case but that is no guarantee, what they are doing by having that view, is that they are putting other people's peoples lives at risk."

Mr Morrison said the new advice to older Australians "does not mean they cannot go outside.

"They can go outside and be accompanied by a support person for the purposes of getting fresh air and recreation but should limit contact with others as much as possible.

"These arrangements should also apply to those with chronic illness, over 60, and Indigenous persons over the age of 50," Mr Morrison said.

 

Six-month moratorium on evictions

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a six-month moratorium on evictions.

After tonight's National Cabinet meeting, the PM said it had been decided that governments would excuse people or businesses who were unable to meet rental commitments as a result of financial distress.

"State and Territories will be moving to put a moratorium on evictions of persons as a result of financial distress if they are unable to meet their commitments," he said.

"And so there would be a moratorium on evictions for the next six months under those rental arrangements."

Mr Morrison said there would be more details to come regarding decisions made on commercial and residential tenancies discussed at tonight's meeting, saying the Nation Cabinet had agreed "on a series of principles, which I will release through a statement".

He also indicated there was more work to be done to resolve tenancy issues, not only by the Government but by businesses, landlords and banks.

"My message to tenants, particularly commercial tenants, and commercial landlords, is a very straightforward one - we need you to sit down, talk to each other and work this out about looking at the businesses which have been closed, businesses that may have had a significant reduction in their revenues.

"We need landlords and tenants to sit down and come up with arrangements that enable them to get through this crisis so on the other side, the landlord has a tenant which is a business that can pay rent, and the business is a business that can re-emerge on the other side of this and be able to go on and employ people on the other side of these arrangements."

 

'Signs of hope'

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said tonight there were 'signs of hope' that the restrictions already in place were helping to ease new virus infections.

"We've got an outbreak of 3978 cases at the moment, much less than some people might have predicted some time ago without mitigation. So there is evidence that the public health measures that we are putting in place and the social distancing measures are likely to be having some early effect," Dr Murphy said.

He rejected comparisons between Australia and countries were the spread has been most virulent such as the US, Spain and Italy.

"We have one of the highest rates of testing per head of population in the world and one of the lowest positive test rates so we think, unlike countries unfortunately like Italy, Iran and even the US, that when they detected significant outbreaks they probably had much, much larger outbreaks in the community that were undetected.

"We feel reasonably confident that we are detecting a significant majority of the cases in Australia. That means that we can get on top of cases when they are detected.

"As the Prime Minister has said, we have had a somewhat slowing of the growth in the epidemiology curve, but it is not enough. We have to slow it further.

"We have to slow it further and we have to stop the thing that's worrying us most, which is community transmission. That is transmission without known links to a known case. That is of concern, particularly in Sydney and to a lesser extent in Melbourne and South East Queensland. "



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