This photo shows a plane sitting at a gate at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne. File/AFP
Australia will impose 14-day self-isolation on international travellers arriving from midnight Sunday and ban cruise ships from foreign ports for 30 days, mirroring restrictions in nearby New Zealand aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the new measures after a meeting with a newly formed national cabinet, dubbed the coronavirus ‘war cabinet’.
The strict measures were designed to slow the spread of the global pandemic across Australia and help the country "flatten the peak” of the virus, Morrison told a news conference.
"To help stay ahead of this curve, we will impose a universal precautionary self-isolation requirement on all international arrivals to Australia and that is effective from midnight tonight," he said.
"Further the Australian government will also ban cruise ships from foreign ports from arriving at Australian ports for an initial 30 days."
The new border restrictions come as Australia recorded more than 250 cases of coronavirus and three deaths.
As of mid-March, COVID-19, the deadly respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, has infected 156,00 people globally and killed more than 5,800.
Australia has already imposed bans for travellers from Italy, South Korea, Iran and China, countries with high infection rates.
The bans mean foreign nationals who have been in any of the four nations will not be allowed into Australia for 14 days from the time they left those countries.
Australian citizens and permanent residents travelling from those countries will still be able to enter Australia but must self-isolate for a fortnight after returning home.Reuters
They also talked about beating the COVID-19 pandemic, combating climate change and working together to hold those responsible for the coup in Myanmar, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the latest Aus$66 billion announced Sunday brought government and central bank measures to support the economy to Aus$189 billion — or nearly 10 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Australia has committed to removing the vast majority of social distancing restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 by July, while nearly A$70 billion of government aid is scheduled to finish in September.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the extreme measures were needed to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. The country has just six confirmed cases and has had no deaths, but Ardern said that number inevitably would rise.
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