Australia is CLOSED: Only citizens and residents can enter the country as the government shuts the border to combat coronavirus
- The Prime Minister has taken the drastic action of shutting the country’s border
- From 9pm on Friday, only residents and citizens are allowed to enter country
- Australians will be allowed to enter but will have to be in quarantine for 14 days
- 80 per cent of Australia’s coronavirus cases have come in from abroad
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Australia’s borders are now closed to foreigners to slow the spread of coronavirus.
As of 9pm on Friday night, only Australian permanent residents and citizens can enter the country.
Scott Morrison said he made the drastic move because 80 per cent of Australia’s coronavirus cases have come in from abroad.
The ban, which has no end date, means for thousands of temporary residents who live and work in Australia, such as people on skilled work visas, cannot leave because they will not be able to come back.
The ban does not apply to direct family members of permanent residents and citizens.
From 9pm on Friday night, only Australian residents and citizens will be allowed to enter. Pictured: Scott Morrison (right) and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Thursday
Announcing the ban, the Prime Minister said: ‘We will be resolving to move to a position where a travel ban will be placed on all non-residents, non-Australian citizens coming to Australia, and that will be in place from 9pm tomorrow evening.
‘For Australians, of course, they will be able to return and they will be subject, as they already are, to 14 days of isolation upon arrival back in Australia.’
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 857
New South Wales: 382
Western Australia: 64
South Australia: 50
Australian Capital Territory: 6
Northern Territory: 3
TOTAL CASES: 877
Explaining the move, the Prime Minister said: ‘About 80 per cent of the cases we have in Australia are someone who has contracted the virus overseas or someone who has had direct contact with someone who has returned from overseas.
‘So, the overwhelming proportion of cases in Australia have been imported.’
Mr Morrison said the world-wide travel ban was an extension of existing bans on people coming from Italy, South Korea, Iran and China.
‘Measures we have put in place have obviously put an impact on that and this is a further measure now that that can be further enhanced,’ he said.
New Zealand has made the same move, also shutting the border to non-residents.
Ms Ardern and Mr Morrison consulted each other before agreeing to shut the borders.
After Virgin Australia cancelled all international flights, Mr Morrison said national carrier Qantas would continue to repatriate Australians.
‘I want to thank Qantas also, who are offering to work with us to make sure they maintain flights from particular parts of the world that can assist Australians to return to Australia and we will be working closely with them, and those Australians who are overseas, we have been encouraging them to return to Australia.
Passengers wait to check-in at the departures hall at the international airport in Sydney on March 18
‘Those in remote parts of the world, that can prove challenging but for those in other places, it is our intention to ensure we can maintain flights to enable them to come home as soon as possible.’
Mr Morrison also slammed food hoarders for the second time in two days.
‘I also want to say to Australians that there are no issues with Australians’ food supply. What there is an issue with is the behaviour of Australians at supermarkets.
‘Frankly there are some Australians not giving Australia a very good name at the moment with their behaviour.
‘I understand they’re anxious. But for the next six months we need to work together,’ he said.
New Zealand shuts the border
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has closed the country’s borders to all but residents and citizens to stop the spread of coronavirus.
‘We need to continue to make further decisions and further restrictions,’ she said during the announcement on Thursday.
The ban will be in place for planes landing in New Zealand after 11.59pm on Thursday.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) has closed the country’s borders to all but residents and citizens to stop the spread of coronavirus
She said the more than 600,000 New Zealanders living in Australia should stay and not travel.
‘While we do not have community transmission, it is in Australia. It is in everyone’s interest that they stay put,’ she said.
Ms Ardern said all cases of coronavirus in the country had come from overseas, and had not been transmitted between people in New Zealand.
Only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents – and their children and partners – will be able to enter the country.
Ms Ardern said there will be exemptions for specific people including health professionals.
‘I’m not willing to have risks here and that’s why we’re making this decision,’ she said.
There are 28 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New Zealand.
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