Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warns the country could see lockdowns in a bid to curb coronavirus.
The potential measures come after large crowds gathered on Sydney’s beaches including Bondi on Saturday, flouting social distancing advice.
Mr Morrison said the situation at Bondi Beach should be a “wake up call to take these policies seriously”.
He also announced a financial package to assist the country’s economy during the crisis.
The number of coronavirus cases in Australia has topped 1,000 and seven people have died.
Bondi Beach was temporarily closed on Saturday after crowds exceeded Australia’s 500-person outdoor gathering limit. It remains closed on Sunday.
Mr Morrison mentioned the incident and appealed for Australians to show common sense when it comes to following the rules.
“You have to keep a healthy distance between each other,” he said.
“If Australians can’t do that on a broad scale, then they are denying the governments and the authorities the most important weapon we have to save lives and to save livelihoods, and states and territories will have to take more severe responses to deal with that.”
He warned that “draconian measures” including lockdowns are set to be discussed on Sunday. He said the lockdowns could apply to areas where there have been areas of large outbreaks.
Mr Morrison also warned Australians against non-essential travel and advised that interstate holidays be cancelled.
What was in the financial package?
Mr Morrison said the government would make available almost A$189 billion (£93 billion) to support the most vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
The measures include doubling income support for those on Jobseeker’s allowance. Assets tests and waiting periods will be waived.
Grants of up to $100,000 will be made available for small and medium sized businesses.
Individuals affected by the coronavirus will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation during 2019 and 2020. They will be able to take a further $10,000 the following year.
Australian airlines and airports will be provided with up to $715 million in support.
The financial package is the country’s first stimulus package since the 2008 global financial crisis.
Mr Morrison stressed that the measures cover the next six months. “This is not a quick fix,” he said. “This will not be my last visit to the podium. There will be more packages and more support.”
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