NSW, Victoria, ACT move to comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services amid coronavirus pandemic

| 22.03,20. 05:39 PM |

NSW, Victoria, ACT move to comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services amid coronavirus pandemic


PHOTO: NSW and Victoria were planning to push for lockdowns at tonight's National Cabinet meeting. (AAP: James Gourley)

The Governments of New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT will proceed to a more comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services over the next 48 hours in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery will be among the many services that will remain open.

Schools in all three states will remain open on Monday, but in Victoria school holidays will be brought forward to start on Tuesday.

Victoria and NSW were planning to push for lockdowns at tonight's National Cabinet meeting, but NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews made clear that their states would be pursuing these more drastic measures.

Mr Andrews said the step was necessary or "our hospitals will be overwhelmed, and more Victorians will die".

Ms Berejiklian said she would "update NSW tomorrow morning about the impacts and our plans following the National Cabinet".

Neither statement gave examples of which services would be considered non-essential, but previous Federal Government advice pertaining to "non-essential indoor gatherings" included restaurants, pubs, cafes, cinemas, weddings and funerals.

NSW has moved past 500 confirmed cases of coronavirus, reaching 533 as of 8:00pm on Saturday, while the Victorian tally now sits at 296.

States begin detailing school plans
Mr Andrews said, "the decision whether to re-open schools after the Term 1 holidays will ... be determined following advice from the chief health officer".

Mr Andrews's office said it would not be commenting or clarifying further until the National Cabinet meeting this evening.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he would be following the recommendations made at the Cabinet meeting on the operation of schools, although Education Minister Yvette Berry said teachers would need to prepare to move their classes online, at least until the end of the term.

Pupils in ACT government schools will be told to stay home and engage with classes online from Tuesday, as teachers scramble to transition away from face-to-face learning.

In-person schooling will still be available to children who need it; however the ACT Government has not said how those children will be defined.

The pupil-free arrangements will continue until the school holidays begin in two weeks' time.

Coronavirus 'red zones' could face lockdown
Earlier on Sunday, both Western Australia and South Australia announced they were closing their borders as of Tuesday, requiring any travellers to go into self-isolation for two weeks. Tasmania and the Northern Territory already have such restrictions in place.

Political leaders will also consider urgent and draconian powers allowing authorities to shut down so-called COVID-19 "red zones", meaning state police officers would prevent residents from travelling to less infected suburbs or areas.

At the National Cabinet meeting the Prime Minister, premiers and chief ministers will discuss how to best implement emergency restrictions like those adopted in parts of Europe and in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

"We had scheduled our next meeting to focus on the issue of further and stronger measures to deal with local outbreaks within state jurisdictions," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

"We are bringing forward consideration of those matters to a meeting this evening."

The dramatic national approach would likely be assisted by the federal departments of Health and Home Affairs, and was flagged earlier this month by Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter who warned the Commonwealth may need to use unprecedented quarantine laws to restrict the movement of people.

Over the weekend health authorities were dismayed by numerous examples of crowds ignoring guidelines on social distancing, instead cramming into popular locations such as Bondi Beach.

"What happened at Bondi Beach yesterday was not OK and served as a message to federal and state leaders that too many Australians are not taking these issues seriously enough," Mr Morrison said.

The country's rate of new confirmed coronavirus cases is now growing at 20-25 per cent a day, with some projections showing between 1 or 2 million Australians could be infected by the end of April.

If those numbers were reached, tens of thousands of people would be dead based on the mortality rate recorded by China earlier this year.

abc


(Votes: 0)

Other News

A Queensland school has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitised after an after-school worker tested positive to coronavirus Police have the power to enforce coronavirus rules — in public and in your own home Four cruise ships given special permission to dock in Australia despite 30-day coronavirus ban Federal Government's second stimulus package offers $66 billion worth of measures for coronavirus-hit economy Australia Post remains open, limits human contact Govt implements tougher restrictions for indoor venues Labor calls for increased coronavirus testing Australia's borders could be closed for six months Australian COVID-19 cases rise above 870 NAB allows personal home loan customers to defer repayments for six months 'Keep your distance': Health Minister's warning to beach lovers after coronavirus advice ignored at Bondi Most Australian coronavirus cases coming from USA: Scott Morrison Thief steals jacket from Melbourne firefighters only to require rescuing Six-month loan repayment deferrals for small businesses amid coronavirus crisis Coronavirus fatalities rise in Australia after 81yo woman dies in Sydney SA Police conduct virus 'spot checks' on infected Motorcyclist killed in Adelaide crash Number of new coronavirus infections in NSW decreases as Premier praises people for following warnings Call to release 'at risk' NSW prisoners وثيقة سرية من 100 صفحة تثير هلع الأمريكان من فيروس كورونا Purchase limit on pharmacy goods to be introduced to combat panic-buying Australia's still not running out of food, so why are the shelves so bare? Petrol stations fail to pass on fuel price cuts despite global oil prices falls due to coronavirus NSW shopper charged for allegedly ramming women with trolley, punching staff over flour outage Reserve Bank expected to cut interest rates ahead of more coronavirus economic stimulus Jewellery heist in Sydney overnight Detectives seek man after another stabbed in attempted murder Qantas, Jetstar to stand down 20,000 workers due to coronavirus, Alan Joyce says national carrier's future is at stake Adelaide house allegedly set alight by axe-wielding man Woolies' grim update on packages for elderly