Australians Arriving Home From Overseas Will Be Quarantined Immediately In Hotels
Scott Morrison has strengthed self-isolation requirements of Australians arriving home from overseas, announcing mandatory quarantine in hotels for two weeks before they are allowed to return home.
What you need to know
- More than 3,000 Australians have been diagnosed with coronavirus
- Two-thirds of Australian cases are from residents returning from overseas
- All overseas arrivals will be quarantined for two weeks in a hotel where they land as of 11:59pm Saturday
- Defence Force will be used to ensure compliance with self-isolation
- Government will be looking to 'hibernate' businesses, so they can recover after the crisis
- Hibernation means a business will be able to close without having incurred any extra debt when it reopens
- 'Biggest concern' for health authorities is growing community transmission
- States will determine how they manage school attendance for the rest of term
- School will 'look different' next term, but no child will be turned away
- Australia has planned to at least triple its intensive care capacity
On Friday afternoon Morrison thanked Australians for finally heeding social distancing requirements but said more needed to be done about people entering Australia.
"In addition to the arrival declaration, by no later than midnight tomorrow (Saturday) states and territories will be quarantining all arrivals in our airports in hotels and other facilities for the mandatory self-isolation period before they are able to return to their home," he told reporters.
He said people will be in quarantine for a fortnight in their destination city before being able to go home.
"To give you an idea, yesterday there were 7,120 arrivals at our airports around the country. To give you an idea of what that was this same time last year, it was 48,725," he said.
"The number of arrivals now are at a level which the states and territories believe they are able to practically implement these types of arrangements."
On Thursday, hundreds of travellers were filmed packing out Sydney Airport’s international arrivals as they waited to pass through border security – many were not following social distancing rules.
Many of the passengers in the footage did not appear to be wearing protective masks, and most did not stand 1.5 metres apart.
During Friday's announcement the PM also said the country was fighting two battles “the virus and economic crisis”.
“Both will take lives, both will take livelihood,” he said.
“I am watching closely and am deeply concerned by the devastating impact on our economy. Every day someone is in a job for just another day is worth fighting for. Every day I can keep an Australian in work, the more we can do that, everyday matters," he said.
The PM cautioned against using the word 'lockdown' and said others should too.
"I would caution against the way people talk about this word "lockdown", and the reason I'd say it is this. I know you meant it innocently," he said.
"I don't want to give people - none of the premiers do - (the idea) that is going to be someplace we might get to, where people can't go out and get essential supplies, that they can't get the things they need to actually live life for the next six months."
There is no need for people to rush out and cram supermarkets and do things like that, because of other restrictions that may become necessary.
But the PM did not rule out controlling social movements even further.
"Where further restrictions are necessary, further restrictions will apply," he said.
He also said he was reluctant to rush any tighter controls because they will have to be in place for several months.
Instead, he said the greatest area of concern right now was dealing with Australians coming home.
“Two-thirds of cases are from an Australian who has come home. That is very different to what we are seeing in other parts of the world," he said.
“As time as gone on the risk of those who are returning increases because more countries have the virus. “
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said that everybody needs to abide by social-distancing guidelines "every minute of the day".
"Working from home where possible, going out only for the necessities, not mingling with your friends in a shopping centre or in a park," Murphy said.
An optimistic Morrison also thanked Australians who have stayed home over the past two weeks.
The PM said by doing so, you are "saving lives and saving livelihoods".
He said that "we are getting on top of this", but "this weekend the challenge will be there again."
Morrison said he was very proud of his country.
'And very proud that we have the highest testing rate in the world to date."