Coronavirus Lockdown: Second wave restrictions hit

Australians are set to face even tougher restrictions on social interactions after a National Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday evening.

Authorities have indicated Australia is moving towards "stage two" restrictions that could see a ban on social gatherings in people's own homes such as birthdays, weddings and barbecues.

Stage one restrictions announced on Sunday included ordering pubs, clubs, hotels, gyms, cafes, cinemas, casinos and restaurants to close.

Religious gatherings and places of worship as well as funerals were also ordered to observe restrictions ruling that people remain subject to the 1 person per 4 square metre rule.

On Sunday the Prime Minister's office would not confirm when stage two restrictions might be undertaken, however several states broke ranks and moved to shut down schools and non-essential services.

Australian coronavirus cases passed 2000 on Wednesday with eight deaths so far.

Minister Health Greg Hunt said further restrictions were likely. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Minister Health Greg Hunt said further restrictions were likely. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

 

The new restrictions come after the advice of academics recruited by the government over how to fight coronavirus amid reports it could infect up to 15 million Australians if left unchecked.

The group urged a "go now, go hard, go smart" strategy, Sydney Morning Herald reports.

It's estimated around 20-30 per cent of Australians would not comply with social distancing orders.

Experts warned leaders they need to seize a "vital window" of opportunity to stop the spread of the disease.

Health Minister Greg Hunt told Australians on Tuesday further measures were likely. He said banning clubs, pubs and gyms was "not the last stage, and I think I should be very upfront and honest about that".

"The general direction, obviously, is about people spending more time at home, obviously keeping the distance," Mr Hunt said.

"House parties, they're out, let me be absolutely clear on that."

The Australian government appears to be following a British-style approach that has favoured a staggered lockdown of businesses rather than a full-scale suppression.

On Monday evening UK-time, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson banned public gatherings of more than two people and said people should only leave the house for exercise, for food and only go to work if absolutely essential.

Originally published as Aussies set to face further crackdown



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