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The SAS Group will provide daily updates on the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, including updates on Government and Department of Health announcements, travel and flight bans, and general media.

Today the Prime Minister held a press conference regarding COVID-19. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Government’s new bans on non-essential public gatherings of more than 100 people, and on international travel to any country. He also announced that schools would remain open, and the possibility on laws to crack down on hoarding. These measures are expected to be in place for six months or longer. The Chief Medical Office advised a two-week shutdown would not help with this pandemic. Changes to the Parliamentary Sitting arrangements were announced today, and the Department of Foreign Affairs advised Australians abroad to return to Australia as soon as possible. Minister for Health, Hon. Greg Hunt MP, released three transcripts of his recent interviews regarding COVID-19.

At a state level, the Queensland Government announced its plan for new laws so supermarkets can restock and deal with public demand, and that it is assisting the arts sector during the pandemic. Queensland Parliament was suspended today.

The general media today included information on the new flight and travel bans, and more information on the public gathering ban.


URGENT NOTICE
Coronavirus updates: breakdown of Scott Morrison’s major concerns
The Courier Mail

Scott Morrison has addressed a number of coronavirus concerns in a press conference this morning.

There are to be no mass gatherings of 100 people or more in indoor venues. There are to be no mass gatherings of 500 people or more in outdoor venues, excluding public transport, medical and health service facilities, courts or tribunals, Parliaments, food market, supermarkets, grocery stores, retail stores, shopping centres, office buildings, factories, construction sites, mining sites, schools, universities, child care facilities, hotels and motels and other accommodation facilities.

There is to be no international travel to any country. Laws will be considered to crack down on hoarding if necessary. Schools will remain open as there is little to no risk to children from the disease.

These measures are expected to be in place for six months, or longer if needed. Chief Medical Officer said a two-week shutdown will only delay the problem, not stop it.

More information here. You can view the Prime Minister’s press conference here.


URGENT NOTICE
Coronavirus QLD: Parliament suspended amid virus fears
The Courier Mail

Queensland Parliament has been suspended in the wake of the coronavirus. The House has adjourned until emergency legislation addressing the health crisis is brought forward.

More information here.


URGENT NOTICE
Virgin Australia grounds international fleet amid coronavirus pandemic
ABC News

Virgin Australia today announced all international services would be suspended from March 30 to June 14. The airline is also slashing domestic capacity by 50 per cent until June 14. The equivalent of 53 aircrafts will be grounded.  

More information here.


URGENT NOTICE
Australians who want to return from overseas warned to do so ASAP ahead of possible COVID-19 border closures
ABC News

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued advice recommending Australians abroad who wish to return home amid the COVID-19 pandemic should do so as soon as possible via commercial flights.

More information here.


MEDIA STATEMENT: Parliamentary sitting arrangements
Prime Minister of Australia

The Parliament will meet only to consider the legislation that will enact the stimulus package and other immediate business. The Government will arrange with the Opposition for both the House of Representatives and the Senate to minimise the requirement for members and senators to attend. For the full days that the Parliament sits, there will be a Question Time on the basis that only the required Ministers, members and senators attend the chambers to reduce the number of people in each chamber.

More information here.


MEDIA STATEMENT: New laws so supermarkets can restock around the clock
Queensland Government

The Palaszczuk Government will introduce urgent reforms to help ensure supermarkets stay well stocked to deal with the unprecedented demand for groceries. The new laws will enable the Government to address planning conditions that currently restrict operating hours of loading docks and distribution centres supplying supermarkets. The changes will come into effect in days and will allow them to operate 24 hours a day when necessary.

More information here.


Hon. Greg Hunt MP’s, Minister for Health, interviews with various media outlets discussing COVID-19 updates
Department of Health

Transcript for interview on the Today Show.

Transcript for interview on Sunrise.

Transcript for interview with ABC AM


MEDIA STATEMENT: Queensland Government to assist arts sector through COVID-19 crisis
Queensland Government 

The Queensland Government today announced its support for the Queensland Arts sector workforce to help mitigate the impact of coronavirus. The State Government will support small to medium Arts organisations through funding extensions, changes to funding application timeframes and rent relief for tenants based in Queensland Government Arts infrastructure.

More information here.


Coronavirus in Australia: What the ban on non-essential indoor gatherings means for you
The Courier Mail

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning announced major new restrictions on all non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, including staff.

An indoor gathering is considered any within a single, enclosed area – for example, a room or premises substantially enclosed by a roof and walls. It doesn’t matter if any part of the room is opened or closed, temporary or permanent. These measures will impact pubs, nightclubs, associations, cinemas, theatres, conventions and other events, and large restaurants. The new restrictions don’t apply to any activities sees as essential to the functioning and wellbeing of the country. The new measures begin immediately.

More information here.


 

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