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Prime Minister announces further restrictions to aged care

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a special announcement on 18 March announcing further restrictions on aged care to combat the threat of coronavirus, or COVID-19, on Australia's most vulnerable.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison enforced further restrictions on aged care this morning. [Source: ABC Live feed]
Prime Minister Scott Morrison enforced further restrictions on aged care this morning. [Source: ABC Live feed]

Aged care facilities must enforce limitations on visitors including all visits to be short durations and limiting visits to a maximum of two visitors at one time per day.

Prime Minister Morrison says, "It is about protecting the residents at the end of the day."

These visits should be conducted in a residents room, outdoors or in a specific designated area at the facility and not in communal areas to minimise the risk of transmission.

There will be no social activities or entertainment permitted in aged care facilities indefinitely, and no large group visits and gatherings or visits for school groups.

Additionally, no visitors are allowed to enter aged care if they have been overseas in the last 14 days, been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-10 in the last 14 days, or have COVID-19 like symptoms or have not been vaccinated against influenza after 1 May.

Aged care facilities have been asked to encourage any visitors to engage in social distancing of 1.5 metres.

At the start of the announcement, Prime Minister Morrison declared, "Life is changing in Australia like it is changing all around the world. Life is going to continue to change as we deal with the global coronavirus. 

"This is a once in a 100-year type event, we haven't seen this sort of thing in Australia since the end of the first World War.

"But together, we are of course up to the challenge. All of us Australians - Governments, health workers, teachers, nurses, journalists, broadcasters, mums, dads, kids, grandparents, aged care workers. We are all up to this. We are all able to deal with this. 

"We just need to continue to keep our heads focussing on the right information, making good decisions, helping and supporting each other, each and every day to make the changes that are very necessary as we deal with this very real situation."

Around 20,000 student nurses will be made available to help support the health care and aged care sectors across Australia.

There has also been a ban on non-essential gatherings over 100 people and greater in indoor areas and a ban on non-essential gatherings over 500 people and greater in outdoor areas.

In regards to palliative care and end of life residents, Prime Minister Morrison was sympathetic about the stress families must be feeling, saying that facilities should impose their rules on a case by case basis and make sure their safety measures are compassionate.

Prime Minister Morrison also announced that all Anzac Day events are to be cancelled before of the high proportion of older Australians that would be in attendance.

The Government have been discussing these options since last night, with Prime Minister Morrison saying that these measures needed to be "scalable and sustainable" and that Australia "won't look like it normally does".

He speculated that this situation will continue for at least six months and there will be no short term quick fix.

"If we slow the spread, then we do save lives," says Prime Minister Morrison.

For more information about coronavirus and how to protect yourself, head to our COVID-19 topic page or go to the Department of Health website.

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