Health, International

All arrivals to Australia subject to mandatory quarantine: PM

CANBERRA, March 15 -- Australian Prime Minister (PM) Scott Morrison said on Sunday that all international arrivals to Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
   According to the Department of Health there have been 249 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia as of Sunday morning.
   The latest figure represents an increase of more than 100 percent from 126 on Thursday.
   "As older Australians and those that are more vulnerable and those in remote communities and with pre-existing health conditions, it is a far more serious virus and that is our concern," said Morrison.
   "Our aim in all of this is to protect the most vulnerable. The most at risk.
   "We know that the virus cannot be absolutely stopped -- no one can do that -- but we can slow the spread. And we anticipate that will be our task over the next six months."
   Cruise ships from foreign ports have been banned from docking in Australia, with non-essential mass gatherings of more than 500 people banned from Monday.
   However, Morrison on Sunday said that schools would remain open.
   "When you take children out of schools and put them in the broader community, the ability for them to potentially engage with others increases that risk," he said.
   The prime minister added that critical workers such as nurses and doctors in the community would have to remain home and look after the children. Xinhua