Australia has reportedly declared a "human biosecurity emergency" as it prohibited the citizens against travelling overseas and banned non-essential gathering as coronavirus cases surged past 560 in the country. Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a formal declaration for Australians to “mandatorily” abandon travel and movements saying that the coronavirus pandemic could last at least six months.
According to the reports, the declaration gives the right to the government to cordon off cities or even regions, impose curfews and order Australians to quarantine, with or without consent, if deemed necessary to contain the pandemic. The non-essential movement restrictions have been comprised under the official advice to an unprecedented "Level 4: Do not travel", as the prospect of an exponential rise in the contagion is being evaluated by the government. Australia has scrambled to enact containment measures after New South Wales, the country's most populous state, recorded the largest surge in cases in the past 24 hours.
"The travel advice to every Australian is 'Do not travel abroad. Do not go overseas.' That is a very clear instruction," PM Morrison said. “We haven't seen this sort of thing in Australia since the end of the First World War. This is a once in 100-year type event. We are looking at a situation of at least six months for how we deal with this. It could be much longer than that. It could be shorter. That is unlikely, given the way we are seeing events unfold.
"Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world. Life is going to continue to change." Morrison further added saying, “ I can't be more blunt about it. Stop it. It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.”
The Australian government announced a 715 million Australian dollars ($430 million) lifeline to its ailing airlines to help the sector through the pandemic as per the media reports. A range of government charges will be refunded and waived to help airlines under pressure as domestic and global travel plummet.