Scott Morrison warns Australians not to travel during Easter holidays as COVID19 cases cross 5,300
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday warned Australians not to travel during Easter and follow social distancing policies to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has killed 28 people and infected over 5,300 others in the country.
Melbourne: Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday warned Australians not to travel during Easter and follow social distancing policies to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has killed 28 people and infected over 5,300 others in the country.
The number of known COVID-19 cases has reached one million worldwide and more than 51,000 deaths have been reported across more than 175 countries and territories, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
There are 5,315 known infections in Australia, with 2,389 in New South Wales (NSW). The death toll stands at 28, after the death of a Victorian man in his 80s, a 74-year-old woman from Albury in NSW, a German passenger from the Artania cruise ship and a Wollongong man who was a passenger on the Ovation of the Seas, health authorities said.
There have been 84 COVID-19 cases linked to the Ovation of the Seas in NSW after it docked in Sydney on March 18 and dozens of Artania passengers were still in Perth hospitals.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday warned that people should not be travelling for the school holidays or to visit family for Easter, which falls on April 12 this year.
"We put the Easter decorations up in the house yesterday with Jenny and the kids - it might actually keep them occupied for at least an hour or so if they're painting Easter eggs or whatever," he said.
"But this Easter will be at home. People should not be getting in their cars and going to other places."
While speaking to the media after a National Cabinet meeting, Morrison confirmed that Australia was successful in bringing down the levels of the COVID-19 infection growth to single digit.
"Had the virus kept growing at the same rate it was 12 days ago, we would now have more than 10,500 cases in this country," he said, adding "That is a tribute to the work that has been done by Australians in getting around and supporting the very sensible measures that have been put in place all around the country."
"But we must continue to do this. It doesn't matter what the temperature is, if it's a warm day, don't go on masses down to the beach."
Morrison also said that social distancing and other border measures were working and saving lives and livelihood.
Early modelling shows if we keep doing the work and upgrade our (intensive care) capacity then right now that trajectory is promising, Morrison said. But there are no guarantees, this virus writes its own rules" he added.
On international visitors coming to Australia on working visas, Morrison said that they would have to self-isolate for 14 days before moving out to rural and regional areas for work.
This is being done to ensure that those producers can get the work done, but also to ensure that the communities are protected,'' he said, adding after the 14 days, they could then move to the country to work.
Morrison said the move was to ensure that the virus was not inadvertently transferred from an urban area to the country.
Meanwhile, Australia's top health expert Brendan Murphy has said that the true global estimate of coronavirus cases could be "five or ten times higher" than the current estimate of one million cases recorded on Friday.
Murphy, who was addressing media along with Australian prime Minister Scott Morrison after a National Cabinet meeting, said ''The true number is probably five to 10 times that.
The Chief medical officer said there were growing concerns that some countries were not being truthful in the number of infections reported.
Murphy, however, said that Australia was showing signs of flattening the curve.
"We have a pretty good idea of the size or our growth rate. We are quietly pleased but we cannot stop," Murphy said.
On the growth rate of infection in Australia, Murphy said that it has been falling and was about five per cent a day at the moment.
Stating that the broader measures have had good effect on controlling the rate, Murphy said "We're still detecting returned travellers, still detecting contacts of returned detecting contacts of returned travellers, but those numbers are reducing. We still have cruise ship people to come home. We still have a lot of issues with people who have contracted the virus from overseas. But we are in control of those issues."