Australia imposes 14-day self-isolation on all arrivals

16, Mar. 2020

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Kyodo - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Sunday that all travelers including citizens arriving in the country must self-isolate for 14 days in a bid to further slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

The new travel restrictions, which go into effect at midnight, also include a ban on all cruise ships from foreign ports for 30 days. They mirror measures taken by neighboring New Zealand on Saturday.

(File photo shows Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.) [Getty/Kyodo]
(File photo shows Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.) [Getty/Kyodo]

Speaking at a press conference, Morrison said it would be a criminal offence for someone to enter Australia and not self-isolate.

"If your mate has been to Bali and they come back and they turn up at work and they are sitting next to you, they will be committing an offence," he said.

The Cabinet also endorsed the introduction of "social distancing" measures, including refraining from shaking hands and a ban on "static" gatherings of over 500 people, he said.

More than 250 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed across Australia, according to the government. (Kyodo)