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World Australia enacts sweeping lockdown powers to combat coronavirus spread

03:30  31 march  2020
03:30  31 march  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - People in Australia ’s most populous state of New South Wales, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Australia , could be heavily fined or jailed for leaving their home without a good reason from Tuesday under sweeping new powers designed to slow infection rates.

Australia 's prime minister cancelled plans to go to a rugby game on Saturday after a senior minister was diagnosed with COVID-19, while the nation's treasurer called a second crisis meeting over the rapidly growing economic threat from the coronavirus . Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was set to hold.

SYDNEY - People in Australia's most populous state of New South Wales, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Australia, could be heavily fined or jailed for leaving their home without a good reason from Tuesday under sweeping new powers designed to slow infection rates.

The public health order, enacted late on Monday, comes amid warnings that it is too early to tell whether an apparent slowdown in infection rates across the country in recent days meant the outbreak was being brought under control.

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Los Angeles (AFP) - Self-isolation and social distancing appear to have slowed the rate at which coronavirus spread from person-to-person over three weeks in the Seattle area, a new statistical study has found. Australia enacts sweeping lockdown powers to combat coronavirus spread .

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Australia 's prime minister cancelled plans to go to a rugby game on Saturday (March 14) after a senior minister was diagnosed with COVID-19, while the nation's treasurer called a second crisis meeting over the rapidly growing economic threat from the coronavirus .

"What we need to consider is the community-to-community transmission that we might not even know about," New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in Sydney on Tuesday.

"It is really important for us, at this stage of the virus, for us to maintain that level of control and contain it as much as possible."

NSW has 2,032 confirmed cases of the virus, almost half the country's total, authorities said on Tuesday. The national death toll stands at 19.

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The state is among several bringing in penalties from Tuesday, including fines of up to A$11,000 ($6,779) in NSW and the potential of a six-month prison term for anybody found breaching the new rules.

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The Executive has agreed new powers to combat the spread of Coronavirus and save lives. The powers will come into force at 11pm tonight. SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said that sweeping new powers placing communities in lockdown were necessary to hold back the spread of coronavirus .

Spain is imposing a nationwide lockdown in a bid to tackle the coronavirus , Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has confirmed. The coronavirus outbreak began in China late last year, but official figures show that the Asian country has stabilized the spread of the disease.

New orders restrict public gatherings to just two people, or a family unit, while outside gyms and parks will be shut. People will still be able to leave their homes for valid reasons such as to visit a doctor, buy food and exercise while adhering to social distancing rules.

a close up of Sydney Opera House: People are seen on the nearly deserted steps of the Sydney Opera House © Reuters/LOREN ELLIOTT People are seen on the nearly deserted steps of the Sydney Opera House

Authorities said on Tuesday they wanted to increase testing, especially in areas of COVID-19 clusters such as Sydney's Bondi area, which drew attention earlier this month after people ignored social distancing rules and flocked to the beach.

Kerry Chant, NSW Chief Health Officer, said that the virus may have been transmitted in the Bondi community via an infected backpacker who was not aware they were carrying the disease.

Chant said on Tuesday that an apparent slowing infection rate in recent days may have more to do with fluctuations with testing numbers, given there is less access to doctors over the weekend.

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The coronavirus pandemic is prompting unprecedented measures around the world. From Spain to the US, governments are taking action to try to reduce the spread of the virus. So how are countries enforcing measures including quarantine and lockdown .

"I'm urging increased testing and particularly aligned to active clusters and community transmission," Chant said.

Like all affected countries, Australia's financial and jobs markets have been roiled by COVID-19, prompting the government to unveil several stimulus packages.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a tweet on Tuesday that 113,000 businesses had registered interest in a new A$130 billion ($80 billion) wage subsidy measure.

Slideshow by photo services

(Reporting by Jonathan Barrett, Sonali Paul, John Mair and Melanie Burton; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

Knifeman in southern France kills 2 in attack on passers by .
PARIS (AP) — A man wielding a knife attacked residents venturing out to shop in a town under lockdown south of the French city of Lyon Saturday, killing two people and wounding others, prosecutors said. The anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press the attack took place at 11 a.m. in a commercial street in Romans-sur-Isere.

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