The Australian Government Has Announced a Ban on Non-Essential Events of More Than 500 People
The ban, which will impact the likes of sporting games, concerts and food festivals, will come into place on Monday, March 16.
March 13, 2020
In an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an indefinite ban on non-essential organised gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday, March 16.
The decision was made this afternoon at a meeting of Council of Australian Governments, which is made up of the PM and state and territory First Ministers, on the recommendation of Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy.
Schools, universities, public transport and airports will not be impacted by the ban, but the government is recommending Australians reconsider all non-essential overseas travel, regardless of their age, health or destination.
Large sporting games, concerts and food festivals will all be impacted by the ban and it's possible venues with a capacity of over 500 people will, despite not falling under the banner of 'organised events', also decide to close. We'll let you know if and when these are announced.
While the ban does not come into place until Monday, many large-scale events across the country have taken precautionary measures and already cancelled or postponed, including Melbourne's Meatstock, Parramasala in Sydney's west and Brisbane's Paniyiri Greek Festival.
Australia's ban follows a similar one introduced in New York yesterday, as well as the closure of large swathes of cinemas in China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy and France, and theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. We've also seen the cancellation of Texan music and film festival South by Southwest and postponement of Coachella. More locally, Tasmania's Dark Mofo and the Grand Prix in Melbourne have both been cancelled.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced early this week that COVID-19 is a pandemic. As at 11am on Friday, March 13, Australia has 156 cases confirmed cases of COVID-19.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.