‘Severe’ measures after Aussies flout rules
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in a press conference today that he "may have to take far more draconian measures" with the potential for a lockdown to be discussed tonight at the National Cabinet meeting.
"Inevitably, and I suspect soon, there will be a need for particular locations (to have) more extreme measures taken," he told the nation at a live address in Canberra.
"And that is exactly why I took the decision to bring forward the next meeting of the National Cabinet from Tuesday evening to this evening."
"I have already flagged issues regarding internal gatherings and targeted responses that is what is being considered by the states and territories as part of the National Cabinet this evening," he went on.
"If there have been pubs and clubs that are heaving with people on the weekend, that is simply an invitation for the states and territories to shut them down.
"There is a responsibility, both of those who run those venues and the patrons who are going to those venues.
"I mean, coronavirus is not a secret. Everybody knows. It is wall-to-wall on every coverage, and every conversation happening around the country today.
"There is no excuse to say you do not know. You have to keep your healthy distance between each other. If Australians cannot do that, if they can't do that on a broader scale, they are denying the government and authorities the most important weapon we have to save lives and to save livelihoods."
Mr Morrison also criticised Sydneysiders for heading out in the hundreds to Bondi Beach on Saturday, saying that was "not OK".
"(It) served as a message to federal and state leaders that too many Australians are not taking these issues seriously enough," he said.
Scott Morrison emphasised that the issue is "deadly serious".
"The measures that we will be considering tonight means that state premiers and chief ministers may have to take far more draconian measures to enforce social distancing particularly in areas of outbreaks than might otherwise be the case.
"The states are moving quickly to mandate and enforce them (social distancing measures), and they will be taking even stronger measures in particular areas, and potentially more widespread."
Mr Morrison added that the national cabinet had already taken "significant actions" but he knew more would need to be done to ensure social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The next meeting has been moved forward to Sunday evening, which will focus on stronger measures to deal with outbreaks in state and territories.
Originally published as 'Severe' measures after Aussies flout rules