Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the nation again at 2pm on Friday with a new round of measures to “flatten the curve” to keep coronavirus at a manageable level. The ‘social distance’ between people was extended to include all non-essential gatherings, even those of under 100 people so that there is a 4-square metre distance between people in indoor areas.
“So for example, if you’ve got a room, if you’ve got a premise, if you’ve got a meeting room or something like that, that’s 100 square metres, then you can have 25 people in that room,” he said.
Following the decision of the Australia Bank Association to defer loan repayments for six months, Mr Morrison offered relief to tenants in both commercial and residential tenancies over the next six months at least “to bring back some model rules that can be applied in hardship cases”, and he added that this would cause problems to landlords. “All Australians are going to be making sacrifices, obviously, in the months ahead. And everyone does have that role to play and that will include landlords, at the end of the day, for people who are enduring real hardship,” he said, without going into further details as to eligibility.
Asked about Centrelink payments as jobs are lost, Mr Morrison said the cabinet is meeting this afternoon to “put the final touches of the package of measures that are designed to cushion the blow.”
“We are providing $444.6 million of additional funding from the Commonwealth to support aged care facilities. Now, that is on top of the more than $100 million that I announced last week in relation to workforce a support across the country for aged care,” Mr Morrison said, while Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said that there would be coronavirus testing for all aged care workers and health workers.
Australia’s Finance Minister Josh Frydenberg talked about “team Australia” and thanked banks for doing their part, adding that businesses would also be helped with further cuts to red tape in the near future. He added that the Budget due in May would be postponed for October.
Mr Morrison advised people not to travel unless absolutely necessary, and the biosecurity act is being used to ban all non-essential travel into Indigenous communities.
Schools will be kept open.