Current case numbers
There have been 1,709 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, including 7 deaths. More than 143,000 tests have been conducted and the majority of Australian cases have resulted from people who recently travelled, or had contact with someone who recently returned from, Europe or America.
Globally, there have been more than 300,700 confirmed cases and more than 13,900 deaths.
New nationwide social distancing measures
Scott Morrison has announced that from midday on Monday 23rd March, pubs, clubs, casinos, cinemas, areas of worship and indoor sporting venues across the country would shut down indefinitely. Places including supermarkets, pharmacies, hairdressers and petrol stations will remain open while cafes and restaurants are restricted to take away or home delivery only.
At a Sunday night press conference, Mr Morrison said, “We don’t now have any confidence that people would refrain from gathering in those ways, in those pubs, clubs and nightclubs”.
“We have no confidence that will be followed. So unfortunately, because guidelines can’t be followed, then for public health reasons we now need to take further action which shuts those gatherings down.”
Queensland schools remain open
Schools will remain open across much of the country, including Queensland, but the Federal Government is now encouraging parents to keep their children at home when possible to help contain the spread of coronavirus. Schools will remain open so that parents who cannot keep their children at home due to work commitments, have the option of sending them to class.
All Victorian schools, however, will shut from Tuesday 24th March with school holidays being brought forward. The decision to re-open schools after the Term 1 school holidays will be determined following advice from the Australian Government and Chief Health Officer.
WA and SA close State boarders
Western Australia and South Australia will close State borders to slow the spread of coronavirus. Anyone entering WA or SA will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from Tuesday 24th March at 1.30 pm (AWST). Essential services and workers in both States will still be able to travel.
The State Governments will allow exemptions for what is classed as ‘essential transport’. This includes the transport of health and medical supplies, health personnel and patients, commercial supply chains, health workers, food supply chains, travel of a relative or caregiver of a dependent person and emergency services. Fly-in-fly-out workers in the mining industry and national level sporting teams could also be exempt.
Potential QLD lockdown
With coronavirus vases increasing in the Sunshine State, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told Queenslanders to stay in their neighbourhood as much as possible and avoid unnecessary travel. Stronger measures are expected to be announced in the next few days with a possible suburb lockdown for key coronavirus affected areas in the State.
Major sports impacted
The AFL has suspended the 2020 Premiership season till 31st May and have cancelled the AFLW season with no premiership awarded. The NRL have followed have announced they will suspend their 2020 season indefinitely, and have told players to stop training.