Australia’s tightened restrictions on international travellers entering the country have begun, with all arrivals to be placed in self-isolation in a hotel for 14 days to slow the spread of coronavirus.
This story is being updated regularly throughout Sunday. You can also stay informed with the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.
International travel quarantine enforcement begins
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Travellers will be quarantined at the airport in which they enter the country, meaning they will not be able to board a connecting domestic flight.
“If their home is in South Australia or in Perth or in Tasmania and they have arrived in Melbourne, they will be quarantining in Melbourne,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
NSW Police Force Facebook post: There are no areas in the Sydney International Airport in which family and friends will be able to see the returned travellers or make contact with them
Those in quarantine will receive “self isolation care packs” of food and other essential items.
As for the cost to taxpayers, Mr Morrison could not put a figure on that, but said it would be paid for by the states and territories.
The Federal Government will help out with logistics, transport, Australian Defence Force personnel and Border Force officials.
What the experts are saying about coronavirus:
Virus prevention measures turn violent in parts of Africa
South Africa went into a nationwide lockdown for 21 days in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. (AP: Themba Hadebe)
Measures imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities.
Minutes after South Africa’s three-week lockdown began, police screamed at homeless people in downtown Johannesburg and went after some with batons, with reports of rubber bullets fired. Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a curfew slid into chaos.
In Rwanda, the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown, police have denied that two civilians shot dead were killed for defying the new measures, saying the men attacked an officer after being stopped.
Experts are concerned the continent will not be able to handle a surge in cases without the depth of medical facilities available in more developed economies.
Elon Musk donates hundreds of ventilators to New York
Authorities have warned that New York is desperately in need of more ventilators. (AP: Mark Lennihan)
New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio has thanked Tesla chief Elon Musk for pledging to donate hundreds of ventilators to the city and state — the hardest hit part of the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The machines, which help patients breathe, are vital in treating severe cases of those suffering from COVID-19.
“We’re deeply grateful. We need every ventilator we can get our hands on these next few weeks to save lives,” Mr de Blasio tweeted.
Mr Musk announced on Friday (local time) that given “pressing needs” in New York, the company would begin delivering ventilators immediately.
There are already more than 6,000 hospitalised COVID-19 patients in New York, with almost 1,600 in intensive care. Mr de Blasio said that next Sunday, April 5, will be “a decisive moment for the city” in terms of having enough medical workers, supplies and equipment.
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Pope Francis leads solitary prayer in St Peter’s Square
Praying in a desolately empty St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis likened the coronavirus pandemic to a storm. (AP: Alessandra Tarantino)
The Pope said the coronavirus pandemic had put everyone “in the same boat” as he held a dramatic, solitary prayer service in St Peter’s Square, urging the world to see the crisis as a test of solidarity and a reminder of basic values.
The Vatican called the service An Extraordinary Prayer in the Time of Pandemic, a sombre echo of an announcement by Italian officials minutes earlier that the coronavirus death toll in the country had surged past 9,000.
Pope Francis walked alone in the rain to a white canopy on the steps of the basilica and spoke sitting alone before a square where he normally draws tens of thousands of people but is now closed because of the pandemic.
The leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Roman Catholics said God was asking everyone to “reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering.”