By Jonathan Barrett and Byron Kaye
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s most populous country will limit public gatherings to two from midnight, the heads of state said on Monday as part of a wave of new measures designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 4,000 people across the country .
The neighboring eastern states of New South Wales and Victoria are responsible for most of the total COVID-19 infections and the death toll in Australia, which is 17.
“You should only leave the house in exceptional cases,” said Prime Minister of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian in Sydney on Monday.
“We will get through this. We are now in a position that enables us to control the spread as well as possible.”
Police in neighboring Victoria are fining AUD 1,600 (USD 984) for people who violate a limit of two people who gather in public unless the group is from a household.
“Unless you want to bury an elderly relative or your best buddy or parents … do the right thing,” said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews in Melbourne on Monday.
The small island nation of Tasmania also set a two-person limit for public gatherings from midnight and was the first country in the country to prohibit people from changing between their primary and secondary homes if they have one.
“There will be no movement between your cabin and your main residence, so you can take turns sleeping and sleeping in both,” said Prime Minister Peter Gutwein, using the slang for vacation rentals.
“You have to make a choice,” he added.
Tasmania reported its first overnight coronavirus death, bringing the country’s total deaths from the disease to 17. Confirmed COVID-19 cases are around 4,200 nationwide, despite authorities saying that the rate of daily infections has halved in the past few days.
In the midst of the extraordinary closure of companies and the resulting layoffs, regulators and banks have taken measures to suspend loan repayment for six months. Overnight, the federal government announced that it would impose a six-month moratorium on tenant clearance.
All overseas travelers coming to Australia must go to a monitored quarantine in hotels or other facilities under police supervision for 14 days under police supervision, under police supervision.
Australia has been fluctuating between measures aimed at keeping as many companies open as possible and more aggressive pressure to lock the country in recent weeks, which has led to confusion.
Considering concerns that non-performing assets could be picked up by overseas buyers, Australia said Monday that any proposals for overseas investments would be reviewed by the relevant government agency during the crisis.
While most virus cases have been discovered in major cities, clusters have also arisen in tourist destinations, for example in the Barossa Valley, a wine region in South Australia.
(Reporting by Jonathan Barrett and Byron Kaye; editing by Daniel Wallis)