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“Non-essential” mass gatherings banned Australia-wide

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“Non-essential” organised mass gatherings of more than 500 people will be banned across Australia from Monday as health authorities hope to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the ban in a press conference on Friday, after meeting with state premiers, senior ministers and health authorities.

Schools, universities and shopping centres, along with Australia’s vast public transport networks, are not included in the ban.

“It has been recommended to us that we move to a position, by Monday, where we will be advising against organised non-essential gatherings of persons of 500 people or greater,” Morrison said.

“That, of course, does not include schools. It does not include university lectures.

“It does not mean people (not) getting on public transport or going to airports or things of that nature.”

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Coronavirus: "It has been recommended to us that we moved to a position by Monday where we will be advising against organised non-essential gatherings of persons of 500 people or greater" – Prime Minister – Scott Morrison.Australians are being encouraged to avoid any overseas travel amid the global coronavirus pandemic.More: https://7news.link/39N37E1#Coronavirus #7NEWS

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Why not today?

Morrison said there were many issues to work through between Friday and Monday, and a new temporary national cabinet emerging out of the COAG meeting would convene again on Sunday.

“This step we are flagging for Monday is just about a scalable precautionary response,” he said.

Earlier on Friday, Australia’s chief medical officer, Dr Brendan Murphy recommended to the COAG meeting that a 500 person limit be placed on public gatherings.

“It wouldn’t have mattered if they’d made a decision one or two days either side,” Dr Murphy said.

“It was felt that that was a reasonable time to progress.”

Church and social gatherings ahead of Easter

With Easter fast approaching, the Prime Minister addressed a possible solution to reducing the mass amount of people attending church and other ceremonies.

“I think any of those social gatherings that are organised that don’t involve your daily work or education or things of that nature, then obviously I think church organisations and church groups are going to have to make arrangements as well in relation to how large their gatherings are.

“I suspect they will do something common sense like hold multiple services at different periods of time over the course of the weekend.”

Sports potentially to be played with no fans

Although Scott Morrison will still attending the Cronulla Sharks match on Saturday, he accepted that this may be the last time he enjoys that benefit for an extended period of time.

Due to the NRL and AFL being independently run, separate to the government, it is left to the organising committee of each sport to decide how they proceed with the season ahead.

“We will leave them to manage the issues,” he said.

‘We will set the ground rules about how these events can be run in the future.’

“We will set the ground rules about how these events can be run in the future, and I have no doubt that there will be strong co-operation from all of the codes as to how they manage that.”

More to come.

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