The Australian government has advised citizens against mass gatherings of more than 500 people after the chief medical officer told the leaders of the Council of Australian Government (COAG) that all mass gatherings should be cancelled in the country. According to reports, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the step is a precautionary measure to minimise the impact of Coronavirus on Australian citizens' health.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also advised people against travelling overseas unless it is absolutely important. He further added that the cancellation of mass gatherings won't be extended to schools, colleges, public transports or airports.
Earlier on March 11, Morrison had announced travel restrictions for foreign nationals who are in or have been through Italy, China, Iran, and South Korea.
In an address to the nation on March 12, Australian Prime Minister pledged USD 17.6 billion support for small and medium-sized businesses in the country to prevent job losses.
Morrison said, "There’s direct cash support of up to USD 25,000 for small and medium-sized business that employ over seven million Australians, to boost their cash flow".
"We’re subsidising half the wages of 117,000 apprentices in small businesses and providing one-off USD 750 payments to more than 6 million Australians to spend in our economy now. Almost two and a half million pensioners will receive this support," he added.
The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne was also called off due to the novel Coronavirus after British racer Lewis Hamilton expressed his concern on Thursday. Australian cricketer Kane Richardson on Friday tested positive and has been quarantined as the first ODI against New Zealand got underway the same the day.
According to reports, Australia has so far recorded 156 cases of coronavirus since it first broke out in December 2019. The country Down Under has logged in three deaths due to COVID-19 with 127 active patients still under observation. Australia has successfully treated 26 people while one remains under critical condition.