Australians returning from overseas as the CCP virus pandemic worsens will now be quarantined in hotels and other facilities for two weeks before returning to their homes.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mishandling allowed the virus to spread throughout China and spark a global pandemic.
The crackdown on international travellers will come into effect on Saturday night and be enforced by the states and territories with support from the Australian Defence Force.
People will be quarantined in the city they fly to, regardless of whether it’s in their home state.
Defence personnel will also help enforce existing self-isolation restrictions on people who have already returned from overseas to ensure they are staying at home for 14 days.
Almost two-thirds of the more than 3,000 CCP virus cases recorded in Australia are among people who have returned from overseas.
A significant percentage of the remaining cases are believed to have been transmitted to others by returned overseas travellers.
The prime minister acknowledged the new quarantine measures were tough but insisted they were necessary and non-negotiable.
Scott Morrison urged Australians wanting to fly home to do so as quickly as possible, given countries are rapidly closing their borders as the deadly disease continues to spread.
“It won’t be too long before it will be very difficult to get back into Australia,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
The states and territories will shoulder the cost of quarantine in hotels, with NSW to have the greatest burden, given it has the most arrivals.
The federal government contribution will be to provide ADF troops to enforce the self-isolation rules.
About 7,000 Australians return from overseas daily despite strong travel restrictions and warnings.
Latest Response to CCP Virus Pandemic
- Isolation declaration card for Australians coming back from overseas will be strictly enforced
- By no later than 11.59pm on Saturday, states and territories will quarantine all arrivals in hotels and other accommodation for mandatory 14-day isolation before they return to their homes
- Defence force personnel will support state enforcement efforts in terms of people already in home isolation
- Australia has the highest coronavirus testing rate in the world
- Coronavirus economic measures of 10 per cent of GDP stack up against other G20 member nations
- An 80 percent drop in the movement of Australians has “saved lives”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says
- Main aim is to keep Australians in work and the economy running
- “Hibernation” of Australian businesses will be allowed so they will not be saddled by rent and other costs during the next six months. Details to be announced in coming days
- Third tranche of economic support is being developed.
NSW Lockdown Inches Closer as Cases Climb
Coronavirus cases in NSW without a clear source of transmission are on the rise, nudging the state closer to a lockdown scenario.
The state branch of the Australian Medical Association, meanwhile, has called for an immediate lockdown amid “highly unusual times” and an assurance that healthcare workers can access protective gear.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday in NSW rose by 186 to 1405. Of those cases, the source of infection for 145 people is unknown, prompting concern among health authorities.
This number is the primary criterion by which NSW authorities are gauging the success of shutdown measures in halting the virus’ spread.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged people to be vigilant and sensible, adding no one should leave their homes unless they have to.
But if CCP virus cases from community-to-community transmission continue to rise, a more comprehensive lockdown would be needed.
“That tells us we are starting to see the increasing spread from unknown sources,” Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
“There’s a number of (lockdown) trigger points—you look at the proportion of community-to-community transfer, the capacity of our hospital system, how many people are presenting to hospital with the disease.
“You also look to see how much community activity has been reduced.”
Berejiklian said it would be important for residents to have time to absorb government decisions, and reiterated that at least seven days were required to determine the success of current restrictions.
Nevertheless, she is willing to move ahead of NSW Health advice, an action demanded on Friday by AMA NSW.
President Dr Kean-Seng Lim said stronger physical distancing measures were required immediately and called for a central point of command within the health system, rather than local health district management.
He also demanded assurances doctors and nurses were protected from infection through access equipment such as masks and gloves.
“We don’t want to see any deaths of healthcare workers in NSW and the community needs to do everything possible to support that goal. These are highly unusual times,” Lim said in a statement. “We are calling on every person in NSW to play their part and stay home.”
NSW Health on Friday said in a statement that 162 passengers of the Ruby Princess cruise ship permitted to disembark last week in Sydney have now been confirmed to have COVID-19, up from 121.
Other confirmed cases include a Bathurst Base Hospital doctor and two Chilean sailors who have been in NSW since March 1.
Almost 20 coronavirus patients in NSW are in intensive care.
A one-year-old girl confirmed on Thursday to have been infected with the CCP virus was also found to have visited a child care centre one day before her onset of symptoms. NSW Health will contact the parents of all children at the centre.
It comes as the NSW government announces a second round of economic stimulus measures including an additional $750 million to sustain businesses and retrain retrenched employees.
NSW last week injected $2.3 billion into the economy in its first stimulus package including $700 for increased health spending.
Berejiklian on Thursday said police would ramp up their public presence and no cruise ship passengers would be permitted to disembark in NSW until clearer protocols were established with border authorities.
Police have the power to hand out fines of $1000 to individuals and $5000 to businesses that breach public health orders or ministerial directions.
Crime Stoppers in the past two days had received 600 calls alleging self-isolation flouting, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said on Friday.
Meanwhile, figures show Waverley Council in Sydney’s east has recorded the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases with 105 on Thursday.
By Daniel McCulloch, Paul Osbourne and AAP reporters
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.