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PM Announces Ban On All Overseas Travel, Indoor Gatherings Of More Than 100

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an indefinite ban on all overseas travel, in a detailed address on Australia's coronavirus response.

What you need to know
  • An indefinite travel ban has been announced for the entire world
  • All indoor gatherings of more than 100, and outdoor gatherings of more than 500, are banned
  • Strict rules in place to limit visits to aged care centres, all must be vaccinated for influenza by May 1
  • Schools should remain open, as will public transport
  • Measures are expected to stay in place for six months
  • Anzac day will be televised nationally, all gatherings to be cancelled
  • 20,000 student nurses will be allowed to work to help manage the crisis
  • Brendan Murphy says a 2-4 week total shut down 'not recommended'

The Federal Government has upgraded its travel advice to a 'Level 4' for the entire globe, for the first time in Australia's history.

"The travel advice to every Australian is 'do not travel abroad'. Do not go overseas. That is very clear that instruction," he said.

"This is an indefinite ban."

He explained a two-week lockdown is not the way to go but instead believes we are "looking at a situation of at least six months for how we deal with this".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaking from Canberra today.

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"There is no two-week answer to what we're confronting. There is no short-term, quick fix to how this is dealt with in Australia," Morrison said.

Travel restrictions and strict border control procedures will remain in place, with all travellers, including Australian citizens, required to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival.

A ban on indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, as well as a ban on outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people, is also enforced from today.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy addresses the nation from Canberra.

Speaking alongside Morrison, Chief Health Minister Bendan Murphy said there are now 454 cases of Covid-19 in Australia and that figure is predicted to rise.

"We have increasing numbers each day," he said.

"But it is important to remember that the majority of cases in Australia... are still imported cases or direct contacts of imported cases."

Murphy said health authorities are "getting on top of cases" but acknowledged there are cases of community transmission which is why it's essential people practice social distancing.

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He echoed Morrison's comments that a two-week shutdown of society would not work.

"Social distancing is really important to prevent delay transmission in the community of this virus over coming months,: Murphy said.

"But be clear -- a short-term two to four week shut down of society is not recommended by any of our experts. It does not achieve anything."

Morrison also pointed to how Australia is likely to experience severe economic implications, stemming from international lockdowns and the grounding of flights across Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin.

"Wherever possible we need to keep Australians working," Morrison said from Parliament today.

"A critical issue in ensuring Australia can keep functioning and, importantly, keep delivering the important services that are necessary."

Morrison declared schools will remain open, claiming the extended closure of them could result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

"The health advice is that schools should remain open. That is the health advice," he said, pointing to similar measures in place in Singapore.

"There are a number of reasons for this," Morrison added.

"The first one is that the virus operates very differently among younger people. It has a different manifestation among younger people and that presents a very different health challenge to the broader population."

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If you're looking to visit an elderly relative in an age care centre you might want to think twice.

Morrison said if you have returned from overseas in the last 14 days or have been in contact with a known Covid-19 case during the same time frame you will be asked not to enter..

The same goes if you are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms or haven't been vaccinated against the flu by May 1.

Morrison underwent a health check up last night, and said he received a "good tick" from his doctor, who he will continue to see regularly.

These extreme measures are set to be in place for at least six months.

More to come.

Contact the author: elyons@networkten.com.au