Two week quarantine for int arrivals in Australia

Two week quarantine for int arrivals in Australia

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday announced that every person who arrives in the country from Sunday onwards will be forced into a 14-day quarantine period as a preventive measure against the coronavirus pandemic. "But as the Prime Minister said we're in an nearly unique situation in this country in that even now a substantial part of the new cases are returned travellers".

He added that the country's states and territories would pay for the self-isolations and carry the Australian Defence Force would help enforce the measure.

But Professor Brendan Murphy did offer some positives, saying Australia is in a unique position because of the amount of cases coming from overseas travellers.

Returned travellers will now have to isolate in hotels for two weeks.

This is enforceable by law and anyone who does not comply will be fined.

Mr Morrison said the ADF are not authorised as enforcement officers, which remains the responsibility of the police, but will assist with compliance where necessary.

By midnight tomorrow states and territories will quarantine all airport arrivals in hotels and other accommodation facilities for two weeks before they can go home.

The government was working on a policy to put at risk businesses into hibernation until the crisis was over, Mr Morrison said, although the exact detail will not be revealed yet.

Arrivals through airports had fallen about 80 per cent from this time previous year, making it easier for states to enforce the rules.

The exact new rules were released to the media shortly after the prime minister spoke. We want those businesses to start again.

"This will be a very innovative approach in the circumstances we find ourselves in", he said.

"I would caution against the way people talk about this word "lockdown", and the reason I'd say it is this".

Mr Morrison said that Australian testing rates are among the highest in the world and also noted the significant value of the Australian social security safety net as the impacts of the virus roll through the economy.

"I am watching closely and am deeply concerned by the devastating impact on our economy".

"Every day that someone is in a job, for just another day, is a day worth fighting for".

In this vein, government advice this week has been that employees should work from home unless they are not able to do so.

He said he would rather be in Australia now "with the way we are dealing with this together" than anywhere else.

"Keep doing it - you're saving lives and you're saving livelihoods", he said.

"You have seen what's happened in countries around the world, where big community outbreaks have taken off".

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