Federal and state governments have moved to further restrict public gatherings of people from 10 to two.
States and territories are now considering, following a national cabinet meeting on Sunday, whether to make the two-person limit enforceable.
The limit will not apply to households, education or employment, while skate parks and public playgrounds will also be closed.
Asked how it would apply to a family, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said parents and children could go for a walk together even if there were more than two. Mr Morrison also announced all people aged 70 and over should stay at home and self-isolate for their own protection.
“They are not self-isolating for the purpose that people … but this is for their own protection to limit their interaction with others in the community,” he said.
“This does not mean they cannot go outside. They can go outside and be accompanied by a support person for the purposes of getting fresh air and recreation but should limit contact with others as much as possible. ”
He said all Australians should remain at home except for a number of reasons. These included shopping for food and other essential items, medical care, compassionate needs, exercise and work or education if remote working or learning is not available.
As well, people aged over 60 with chronic illness and indigenous people over the age of 50 should self-isolate as much as possible.
Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said we have to “change the way we interact with each other”.
“It is very simple. We need to all stay home unless we are going out to shop, to do personal exercise, to go to medical appointments, or to go to work or study if you can’t work from home,” he said.
“So anyone who doesn’t need to be out of their home should be in the home. This is radical. “The vast majority of Australians have done the right thing in the last week. We have seen huge evidence of that but we have also seen some very silly behaviour of people who haven’t complied with that, particularly outdoors and sometimes indoors. And that’s why we feel that it is really important that every Australian does the right thing because for these interventions to take effect, the science shows that you need more than 90 per cent of the population to be doing it all of the time.
“Continue to follow these rules and hopefully these early signs of flattening will mean that we can keep going and getting a reduction in the rate of increase every day.”
– with AAP