Australian gov't says social distancing helping to slow coronavirus spread

Australian gov't says social distancing helping to slow coronavirus spread”

A new two-person limit for gatherings in public spaces is now in place, which will be up to state leaders to enforce.

In a press conference on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus in Australia, and chief medical officer Brendan Murphy urged the public to stay home unless absolutely necessary. Unless it is your household, a family, those living at your residence, with one other person as a gathering outside as required.

While Australia is not entering an official lockdown - such as those introduced to tackle major breakouts in Spain, the UK, Italy, China and the USA - the prime minister urged the public to embrace similar restraints.

There were 3,809 confirmed cases in Australia early on Sunday, 431 more than in the previous day, according to health ministry.

The government also ramped-up its public communications about the virus, launching a smartphone application and official WhatsApp messaging service, which Morrison said would enable the government "to talk to Australians in terms of basic health advice".

"There is strong advice that people aged 70 and over should stay at home and self isolate for their own protection to the maximum extent practical".

With the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases now heading towards 4,000, and 16 fatalities recorded, Morrison told reporters on Sunday night Australians now needed to stay home unless they were shopping for food and other essentials, attending medical appointments, exercising, or attending work or education.

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The ban will cover playgrounds, outdoor gyms ('group' activities will be limited to only the trainer and the client) and skateparks, all of which will be closed from tomorrow.

Other announcements: Renters can not be evicted from their property by landlords for the next six months.

The daily rate of the spread of the coronavirus has halved in recent days to about 13 percent to 15 percent, Reuters reported.

"There's no rulebook for this but we are in uncharted territory", Scott Morrison said.

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"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".

National Suicide Prevention Adviser to the Prime Minister Christine Morgan said every Australian needed to embrace physical distancing "but with social connection" during the coronavirus crisis.

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