Australia announces a “human biosecurity emergency" and bans large indoor gatherings

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared a “human biosecurity emergency” today and announced new restrictions to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

This declaration of a human biosecurity emergency gives the government the power to impose curfews and order people into quarantine if deemed necessary, Morrison said in a televised address.

The new restrictions include an upgraded travel advice to Level 4 -- meaning "do not travel." It's the first time the country has imposed a Level 4 warning, Morrison said.

He added that this travel restriction is because the biggest risk comes from imported cases -- "Australians returning from overseas."

The government is also banning all non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, effective today.

Morrison also urged people to stop panic buying.

"Stop hoarding. I can't be more blunt about it. Stop it," he said. It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behavior in response to this crisis.” 

The government also unveiled economic aid. The government announced a $430 million aid package for its airlines.

This comes as the aviation industry worldwide has suffered from the virus; Norwegian Air had to lay off half of all its staff, and an aviation consultancy warned most airlines in the world could be bankrupt by the end of May without government intervention.

Australia has reported 454 confirmed cases, of which 43 have recovered and 5 have died.The FrontPage19032020.