Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Australia Tells Citizens to Come Home, And Stop Travelling Abroad

Australia Tells Citizens to Come Home, And Stop Travelling Abroad

CANBERRA - Australia's government told its citizens Wednesday not to travel abroad and warned those already overseas to rush home as it took unprecedented steps to choke off the spread of the coronavirus epidemic Down Under.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also ordered a halt to "non-essential" indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, on top of an existing ban on outdoor events of more than 500 that has stunned the sports-mad nation.
Although Morrison called the extraordinary travel crackdown an "indefinite ban" on foreign trips, the advice released by the government was couched as a recommendation.
"Regardless of your destination, age or health, our advice is do not travel at this time," the foreign ministry's Smart Traveller alert said.
A spokesman for national carrier Qantas said it would continue issuing tickets to Australians wanting to leave the country on the few flights it continues to operate.
"It's advice, it's not a ban," he told AFP.
Morrison called the coronavirus pandemic "a once-in-100-year-type event".
"We haven't seen this sort of thing in Australia since the end of the First World War," he said.
"We are going to keep Australia running, we are going to keep Australia functioning, (but) it won't look like it normally does," he added, girding the country for measures that will last at least six months.
Australia has more than 500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and six fatalities.
But the number of infections have been escalating daily, with the majority of these new cases being returning travellers or people infected by them. (AFP)