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Coronavirus updates LIVE: Scott Morrison announces mass gathering bans for Australia

Exempt gatherings include:

  • Schools
  • Universities
  • Offices and workplaces
  • Public transport
  • Airports
  • Parliament

When asked why mass gatherings would be stopped from Monday, the chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy said: “We think that by that time we will start to see again a few more cases of community transmission.”

“There’s no immediacy about this, but we need to get ahead of the curve and so the recommendation was Monday and the Premiers and the Prime Minister agreed with that.

“It wouldn’t have mattered if they’d made a decision one or two days either side. It was felt that that was a reasonable time to progress.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the decision to advise against mass gatherings is an “evolving situation”.

“If we feel that anybody’s health is compromised, there’s a great risk to the community, we will take those decisions,” she said.

“What we decide today may be different from next week – we need to make clear it is evolving – at this stage there’s no reason for us to change the existing policy we’ve been adopting in New South Wales.

“Again, that is advice we will take from the health experts.

“To this point we will continue to maintain that policy.”

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said Australia remains ahead of the coronavirus outbreak curve, but the decision to cancel mass gatherings was a precautionary measure.

“The risk to the Australian community in general still remains low,” he said.

“Most of our cases still are imported, but we know that some of those imported cases have led to some community spread.

“We want to be as far ahead of the game is any country and control the spread of this virus and make sure that we keep its outbreaks in Australia to is limited as possible.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has recommended Australians reconsider all non-essential overseas travel.

This applies to any destination offshore in what is known as a “level three travel advice” for all Australians leaving the country.

“This is done to protect their health and to limit their exposure, given we have so many countries now that are affected by the coronavirus,” Mr Morrison said.

“Only essential travel should be considered if you are going overseas from this point forward, and we would encourage Australians to heed that advice,” he said.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said the risk to Australians “still remains low”.”Most of our cases still are imported, but we know that some of those imported cases have led to some community spread,” he said.

“We want to be as far ahead of the game is any country and control the spread of this virus and make sure that we keep its outbreaks in Australia to is limited as possible.”

Read more here. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia had low rates of the number of cases of the virus but this figure was expected rise.

Addressing a press conference following the Council of Australian Government’s meeting in Sydney on Friday afternoon he said slowing the transmission of the virus meant the national health system would better be able to handle the increasing demands as the virus spreads.

“There was growing evidence, as we were receiving, particularly over the course of the day, of greater community transmission of the coronavirus throughout Australia,” he said.

“We will be meeting again on Sunday to consider that further advice on the implementation of those arrangements, and we will provide further advice at that point once those recommendations have been considered.”

He also raised concerns about disruption to international supply chains, including relating to medical equipment.

Watch live as the Council of Australian Government addresses the coronavirus crisis.

An infectious diseases expert has warned against a blanket closure of schools, warning it would have unintended consequences such as robbing hospitals of vital staff because they have to stay home and look after their children.

Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott from the University of Sydney said parents should not rely on grandparents to babysit if schools shut, because people over 60 with chronic diseases are at most risk from COVID-19.

“That provides significant implications for the workforce, and in particular it has significant implications for our health care workforce,” he said.

“One of the key workforces is nurses, I’m a former nurse myself. It’s still a female-dominated industry. This can have further consequences for our healthcare system and response in the event of widespread school closures.”

Dr Kamradt-Scott said a more sensible approach would be to only shut schools if there was evidence of coronavirus in a community.

To prevent transmission, school leaders could look at options such as staggering school starting times or play times, and postponing assemblies, to avoid large groups of people.

This morning Cricket Australia announced fans would not be able to attend the one-day international match and as players make their way to the middle there is not a soul in sight around the famous ground.

There are ground staff, security, television crews, media, as well as the Australian and New Zealand teams and staff.

Australia warms up to empty stands after Cricket Australia announced no public will be admitted to venues for the three match series.

Australia warms up to empty stands after Cricket Australia announced no public will be admitted to venues for the three match series. Credit:Getty Images

Players have been told to keep two metres away from others where possible, meaning that interviews have become difficult. Fox Sports is having to use spider cam to conduct interviews, with commentator Mark Howard standing some 20 metres away from players while speaking to them before play.

It’s a truly bizarre scenario and sure to get weirder throughout the day but this is set to become the norm with other sports considering also locking out fans from matches.

One fan has even resorted to wearing a gas mask out the front of the SCG.

Australia have won the toss and elected to bat.

Hollywood star Tom Hanks has taken to social media from his Gold Coast isolation, reassuring fans he and actor-singer wife Rita Wilson are receiving “such good care”.

In a selfie posted to his Instagram account, the double Oscar winner thanked “everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us”.

“We have Covid-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else,” he said. “There are those for whom it could lead to a very serious illness. We are taking it one-day-at-a-time.

“There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no? Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball.”

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