Australia’s effort to flatten the curve and reduce COVID-19 cases in Australia is working with the recent news numbers are “stabilising”, but the efforts need to continue, and in fact, ramp up, in order for the country to return to a new state of normal sooner rather than later.
Earlier this week, the State Government brought new laws into effect — laws that may be in place for a number of weeks.
In NSW, there are now only 16 “reasonable excuses” to leave one’s place of residence, as per the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020, under the Public Health Act.
These are as follows:
1. Obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes (including for pets) and for vulnerable persons
2. Travelling for the purposes of work if the person cannot work from the person’s place of residence
3. Travelling for the purposes of attending childcare (including picking up or dropping another person at childcare)
4. Travelling for the purposes of facilitating attendance at a school or other educational
institution if the person attending the school or institution cannot learn from the person’s place of residence
5. Exercising (maximum of two people who must adhere to social distancing recommendations)
6. Obtaining medical care or supplies or health supplies or fulfilling carer’s
7. Attending a wedding (five-person limit) or a funeral (10-person limit)
8. Moving to a new place of residence (including a business moving to new premises) or between different places of residence of the person or inspecting a potential new place of residence
9. Providing care or assistance (including personal care) to a vulnerable person or providing emergency assistance
10. Donating blood
11. Undertaking any legal obligations
12. Accessing public services (whether provided by Government, a private provider or a non-Government organisation), including:
— Social services, and
— Employment services, and
— Domestic violence services, and
— Mental health services, and
— Services provided to victims (including as victims of crime)
13. For children who do not live in the same household as their parents or siblings or one of their parents or siblings — continuing existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children or siblings
14. For a person who is a priest, minister of religion or member of a religious order — going to the person’s place of worship or providing pastoral care to another person
15. Avoiding injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
16. For emergencies or compassionate reasons (taking a pet to the vet, for example)
Tough new measures to stop the spread of the virus. Gatherings of only two allowed, unless your immediate household. You should only leave your home for work or education, shopping for essentials, medical needs or exercise. For more info: https://t.co/mtuYoPLEIv or call 13 77 88. pic.twitter.com/JHhuqPmkNt
— Gladys Berejiklian (@GladysB) March 31, 2020
The maximum penalty for breaching the rules above is $11,000, six months in prison, or both. But police can, and have already begun to, issue on-the-spot fines of $1,000.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging residents of NSW to stay inside unless absolutely necessary, and to stick to the rules. “Do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to,” she says.
“Do not gather more than two people outside or inside your home apart from your family and make sure you take every social distancing precautions when you’re out and about.”
If you are out, the recommendation is that you stay 1.5 metres away from other people at all times, and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
At the time of writing, there are currently 2,182 confirmed cases in NSW.
The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.