Prime Minister Scott Morrison has addressed the nation to reveal a new social distancing measure and confirm that the federal budget will be delayed until October.
Speaking from Canberra Mr Morrison announced that people should limit contact in indoor spaces to a 2-metre radius around each person and delayed the budget until October 6 due to not being able to provide reasonable economic forecasts at this time.
“We are now moving to an arrangement for gatherings of less than 100 and that there would be four square metres provided per person in an enclosed space, in a room,” he said
“So that’s two metres by two metres.
“So for example, if you’ve got a room, if you’ve got a premises, if you’ve got a meeting room or something like that, that’s 100 square metres, then you can have 25 people in that room,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison also confirmed that the National Cabinet had discussed a plan to help tenants who lose their jobs pay their rents, as revealed by The West Australian today.
“States also agreed today, and further work will be done on this, on working to identify how relief can be provided for tenants in both commercial tenancies and residential tenancies, to ensure that in hardship conditions, there will be relief that will be available, and ensuring that tenancy legislation is protecting those tenants over the next six months at least,” he said.
Non-essential travel into Indigenous communities will also be banned.
There will be exemptions for the purposes of providing or obtaining medical care.
“Under the Biosecurity Act we’ll be using the Health Minister’s powers to ensure that we are taking action to restrict travel into remote Indigenous communities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Mr Morrison said.
“The way this will work is states and territories will nominate prescribed areas.
“That is, communities — in consultation with Indigenous communities as an emergency requirement to determine — as determined by the Biosecurity Act that will restrict persons from entering or leaving those prescribed areas.”
Mr Morrison also said schools would remain open for now despite the confirmed transmission in Adelaide from a teacher to a student.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the new date for the Federal Budget of October 6 would allow the government to appropriately forecast.
“Forecasting for budgets is difficult at the best of times, let alone when we’re in the midst of a global pandemic,” Mr Frydenberg said.
He said the States would likely follow suit.
“I understand the States are making similar arrangements, and it’s important that we are able to deliver a budget at a time where there is more certainty about the economic environment, and that is planned for the first Tuesday in October.”
Speaking about the current state of play Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said things were “critical”.
“We have to slow the curve … there is a risk if we don’t do what everyone of us has to do as our civic duty to control this spread it will grow significantly greater,” Dr Murphy said.
“Whilst people who are high-risks of contacts and returned travellers, if they get symptoms must be tested, there will be cases of community contact where it’s not suspected and they might just get a sniffle or a cold, the sort of thing that many of us have soldiers through and gone to work in recent years.
“We can’t do that anymore. Nobody should be going to work or mixing with society or friends, or going out if they are unwell at all. Stay at home if you’re unwell. Only go out when you’re feeling well.”