00:25 GMT01 April 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Australia has introduced tighter travel restrictions, including self-isolation for 14 days for those coming to the country from abroad, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.

    "We will impose a universal compulsory self-isolation requirement on all international arrivals to Australia from midnight tonight ... All people coming to Australia will be required, I stress, to self isolate for 14 days. This is very important", Morrison said, as quoted by the newspaper Weekend Australian, adding that ignoring the measure would be a criminal offence.

    The minister also announced more "aggressive" social distancing measures, including a ban on all non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people and handshakes, as well as an entry ban for all cruise ships arriving in the country from foreign ports for the next 30 days.

    Travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport wear masks Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in SeaTac, Wash. Six of the 18 Western Washington residents with the coronavirus have died as health officials rush to test more suspected cases and communities brace for spread of the disease.
    © AP Photo / Elaine Thompson
    Travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport wear masks Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in SeaTac, Wash. Six of the 18 Western Washington residents with the coronavirus have died as health officials rush to test more suspected cases and communities brace for spread of the disease.

    Morrison added that schools across the country would not be closed amid the pandemic, as the measure "could actually make the situation worse, not better". So far, Australia has confirmed 249 cases of the disease and three fatalities; Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton is among the infected, as he was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this week.

    To combat the infection, Canberra has toughened measures in line with New Zealand, which also introduced new travel restrictions and mandatory 14-day quarantine for all those arriving in the country on Saturday.

    Topic:
    Coronavirus Outbreak Turns Into Pandemic (233)
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    Scott Morrison, coronavirus, COVID-19, quarantine, quarantine, quarantine, quarantine, isolation, Isolation, Australia
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