Coronavirus: Australian PM warns of lockdowns

  • March 22, 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a joint press conference held with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warns the country could see lockdowns in a bid to curb coronavirus.

The potential measures come after large crowds gathered on Sydney’s beaches including Bondi on Saturday, flouting social distancing advice.

Mr Morrison said the situation at Bondi Beach should be a “wake up call to take these policies seriously”.

He also announced a financial package to assist the country’s economy during the crisis.

The number of coronavirus cases in Australia has topped 1,000 and seven people have died.

Bondi Beach was temporarily closed on Saturday after crowds exceeded Australia’s 500-person outdoor gathering limit. It remains closed on Sunday.


Beachgoers pack up and depart Bondi Beach following its closure after thousands of peopled flocked there in recent days, defying social distancing orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Sydney, Australia, March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Mr Morrison mentioned the incident and appealed for Australians to show common sense when it comes to following the rules.

“You have to keep a healthy distance between each other,” he said.

“If Australians can’t do that on a broad scale, then they are denying the governments and the authorities the most important weapon we have to save lives and to save livelihoods, and states and territories will have to take more severe responses to deal with that.”

He warned that “draconian measures” including lockdowns are set to be discussed on Sunday. He said the lockdowns could apply to areas where there have been areas of large outbreaks.

Mr Morrison also warned Australians against non-essential travel and advised that interstate holidays be cancelled.