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Coronavirus: Prime Minister Scott Morrison set to escalate Australia’s shutdown


Australia’s lockdown is being tightened to include shopping centres, food courts, auctions, massage parlours, beauty salons and a range of other non-essential services.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled further unprecedented measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus which will apply from midnight tomorrow night.

Galleries, museums, libraries, swimming pools and community facilities will also have to close.

Weddings may still continue, but only with a couple, a celebrant and their witnesses, as large gatherings are no longer allowed.

Funerals can only proceed with a maximum of 10 people observing social distancing rules.

Scott Morrison speaks after the national cabinet meeting. Picture: Sam Mooy
media_cameraScott Morrison speaks after the national cabinet meeting. Picture: Sam Mooy

Mr Morrison said Australians should not go out unless it is “absolutely necessary”.

He said people should only be going outside if they were exercising, buying food and supplies, seeking medical care, going to work if they cannot work from home, and fulfilling caring responsibilities

The changes come after days of mixed messages over the shutdown of non-essential businesses such as nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and gyms.

VIRUS AFFECTS YOUNG AS WELL AS ELDERLY

COVID-19 is not just a disease for old people with 50 Australians under the age of 20 already contracting the illness including three infants under the age of four.

Young people, including babies, have died from the illness around the world.

The bulk of cases (56 per cent) in Australia have occurred in people under the age of 50.

Even though the elderly are at greater risk of dying from the virus only 10 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Australia have been aged over 70, Health Department data shows.

All of the people who have died from COVID-19 in Australia have been older than 70 years of age and more than one in five of those aged under 80 who get the virus are likely to die.

NSW Health confirmed 27 ( 3 per cent) of the state’s COVID-19 cases were under the age of 20.

Younger people are being warned that the virus does not just affect the elderly. Picture: Getty
media_cameraYounger people are being warned that the virus does not just affect the elderly. Picture: Getty

Victoria’s health department said 185 cases were aged between 15-44 and three were under the age of 14 with preschoolers also affected by the virus.

The alarming figures prompted Australian Medical Association NSW president Dr Kean-Seng Lim to urge young people not to under estimate the risk of the virus.

“COVID-19 can and does kill young people as well,” he said.

“Some of the sickest patients we’ve had in NSW have been younger people,” he said.

“If you look at Italy and the US and England we are seeing intensive care units with young people in them,” he said.

Many younger people were out and about in the vicinity of Sydney’s beaches yesterday in defiance of social distancing rules designed to stop the spread of the virus in Australia.

While it was true young people were less likely to be severely affected by the virus they were underestimating the risk they posed to others if they disregarded strict social distancing rules, Dr Lim said.

“Even if you yourself are not getting severely unwell you could pass it on to someone else who could get severely ill,” he said.

An aged care centre has signs warning people not to enter. Picture: Getty
media_cameraAn aged care centre has signs warning people not to enter. Picture: Getty

New research from China showed that more than 2000 children contracted the virus in one region with 125 developing very serious illness and a 14-year-old boy died from the illness.

More than 60 per cent of those children who became severely ill in China were aged younger than five and infants under 12 months were also likely to get very sick.

Information from the United States shows that it has so far had 705 cases among those aged 20 to 24 and 2.5 per cent of its cases are under the age of 19.

Three per cent of those hospitalised with COVID19 in the US were aged under 19.

BRITAIN’S RESTRICTIONS WORSE THAN WARTIME

Britain has been placed under stricter restrictions than during the blitz in the Second World War as it tries to fight the coronavirus with a complete lockdown.

The UK has followed the lead of Italy, France and Spain, with fines to be handed out to people who break the rules.

All shops except for food stores and pharmacies will be closed for at least three weeks, with the army called in to help with logistics.

Gatherings of more than two people were banned and playgrounds closed following a weekend where Brits ignored directives for social distancing.

It comes as Britain’s death toll was at 336 from 6726 cases, with a national emergency declared.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation about the major lockdown.
media_cameraBritain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation about the major lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation’s 66 million people: “You must stay at home.

“Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope,” he said.

“Because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.”

The UK was adopting some of Germany’s rules, where it was showing signs of reducing the spread of the virus.

Spain has made the grim choice to turn an ice-skating rink, normally a place where children and families spent spring weekends, into a morgue.

The rink in Madrid has enough space for 1800 skaters, but will be used to store bodies as the country’s death toll climbs, with 462 dying in 24 hours.

Members of the Spanish Army's Military Emergency Unit wearing protective suits stand as a van arrives at the Palacio de Hielo (Ice Palace) shopping mall. Picture: AFP
media_cameraMembers of the Spanish Army’s Military Emergency Unit wearing protective suits stand as a van arrives at the Palacio de Hielo (Ice Palace) shopping mall. Picture: AFP

“Preparations have begun so that the installations ceded by the Ice Palace can receive bodies, and facilitate the work of funeral services in the face of this exceptional situation,” according to a statement from Madrid’s regional government.

“This is a temporary and exceptional measure which aims to mitigate the pain of the family members of the victims and the situation hospitals in Madrid are facing.”

Italian health authorities have warned it would be several days before they declared they were starting to beat the coronavirus, with the death toll dropping for the second day in a row.

There were 601 deaths on Monday local time, compared with 651 on Sunday local time, and new cases had also dropped by 700 compared to previous days.

Authorities warned that the south of the country was still at threat after people were ignoring the lockdown there.

“The curve to the south does not seem to rear, but I have seen in the press pictures of streets full of people, things that are not seen elsewhere,” Silvio Brusaferro, head of the Italy’s Higher Institute of Health, said.

French authorities have closed all open markets and increased fines to $A248 as it ups its attack on the coronavirus.

Another 186 people have died in France because of the virus, bringing the total to 862.

Moscow was speeding up coronavirus testing as it battles to combat the threat, with 438 cases and one death so far.

Authorities have decided that one positive test was enough, removing the need for samples to be sent for a laboratory for further analysis and a second confirmation.

It comes as over 65s were bribed to stay at home with an $A86 payment to remain indoors.

India has cancelled all domestic flights from midnight local time on Tuesday and stopped its railway service as it fights the coronavirus.



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