PM issues new quarantine rules for travellers
Australians returning from overseas from midnight tomorrow will be quarantined in hotels and other accommodation facilities to enforce the 14-day self-isolation period.
With some travellers still making their way home from other countries, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the measure was crucial to prevent further spread of the virus from overseas.
The national cabinet agreed this afternoon on the extraordinary measure, which will be policed by state governments.
Defence Force members will also be deployed to assist in new regime.
Mr Morrison said the country was in "two fights" - the health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus.
"Both will take lives. Both will take livelihoods," he said.
"No decision that we're taking on the health front that has these terrible economic impacts is being taken lightly."
"Every day that someone is in a job, for just another day, is a day worth fighting for."
Mr Morrison thanked Australians for how they had responded so far to the "significant changes" made to people's lives.
He said the movement of people in Sydney and Melbourne had fallen by 80 per cent over the last two weeks.
"Keep doing it - you're saving lives and you're saving livelihoods," he said.
"We might have to keep our distance but we don't have to disconnect from each other ... No Australian should have to go through this alone."
"This weekend, the challenge will be there again. Let's keep saving lives, let's keep saving livelihoods."
The Prime Minister showed the card Australians have to fill out when they return home and warned of penalties if they don't comply with isolation rules.
He said states and territories will be quarantining all arrivals through airports in hotels and other accommodation facilities for the two weeks of their mandatory self-isolation before they are able to go home.
"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. If it's in Sydney, it will be if Sydney. If it's Brisbane, and so on," he said.
He said he would rather be in Australia now "with the way we are dealing with this together" than anywhere else.
"I promise you we will be doing more," he said.
"We will not take these decisions lightly. We will not take them for a matter of convenience.
"Because every decision we are taking has very real personal impacts."
Mr Morrison said the national cabinet was also briefed about the economic impact of the virus.
He said he and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would have "more to say" in coming days about the third phase of the government's economic response.
This is expected to focus on helping businesses to "hibernate" through the next six months when they are forced to close.
"This will be a very innovative approach," Mr Morrison said.
"We want those businesses to start again."
He said the package was designed to reduce the weight of debts and liabilities on businesses during the crisis.
"That will include support by states and territories on managing the very difficult issue of commercial tenancies," Mr Morrison said.
He added states will make their own arrangements with schools between now and the end of term.
"At the end of the say it needs to be sorted out in each state and territory," he said.
On childcare, he said they are working on a plan to deal with the premises around the country. "They are an essential part of keeping the economy running for those who are still part of it and for those who are still going to work," he said.