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Australia has imposed further coronavirus restrictions — including limiting public gatherings to just two peopl — even as the rate of daily infections has been cut in half in recent days.
Those over 70 were told to self-isolate.
“Anyone who doesn’t need to be out of their home should be in the home,” said Brendan Murphy, Australia’s chief medical officer, according to Reuters. “This is radical.”
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
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it will be up to states and territories to enforce the new limit on gatherings.
Official health ministry data shows 3,966 coronavirus cases nationwide — an increase of 331 over a 24-hour period. There have been 16 deaths.
The daily rate of the spread of the coronavirus has halved in recent days to about 13 percent to 15 percent, Reuters reported.
Health officials credit social distancing measures with helping to slow the spread.
“We feel reasonably confident that we are detecting a significant majority of the cases in Australia,” Murphy said.
Officials, however, are worried about the rise in community transmission, especially in New South Wales and Victoria, where half of Australia’s 25.5 million people live.
“We have to stop the thing that’s worrying us most, which is community transmission — that is, transmission without known links to a known case,” Murphy said.
Reuters also reported that a person who died in New Zealand was that country’s first coronavirus death.
In New Zealand, 514 people have tested positive for the virus.