Australia announces 2nd stimulus package

Canberra, Mar 22 (IANS) | Publish Date: 3/22/2020 1:43:27 PM IST

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced a second A$66 billion economic stimulus package and warned against all non-essential travel as the number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached 1,098.

Morrison unveiled the package, building on measures included in the A$17.6 billion package he announced on March 13, reports Xinhua news agency.
Under the second package small businesses will receive cash payments of up to A$100,000 in an attempt to save jobs.
Speaking at a press conference here, Morrison urged Australians to cancel all non-essential travel within the country in order to stop the spread.
He was joined by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who said that the economic impact of the global pandemic in Australia would be “deeper, wider and longer” than previously thought.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia was 1,098 as of Sunday morning -- an increase of more than 200 from 874 the previous day.
The death toll currently stands at seven.
“We cannot prevent all the many hardships, many sacrifices that we will face in the months ahead,” Morrison said about the economic package.
“And while these hardships and sacrifices may break our hearts on occasion, we must not let them break our spirit and we must not let them break our resolves as Australians.”
The national cabinet will meet on Sunday night to discuss how the government’s social distancing measures can be enforced.
The Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria, which together account for 63.6 per cent of Australia’s confirmed cases, will reportedly use the meeting to push for a blanket lockdown on non-essential activities, including businesses.
“People cannot be cavalier about these things and must take them extremely seriously because lives and livelihoods are at stake,” Morrison said.
“The more social distancing we do, the less severe the economic impacts have to be and so that is why I appeal to Australians that you are and listed in our fight against the virus. You have a role to play.
“All non-essential travel should be canceled.”
Only minutes after Morrison’s press conference concluded Steven Marshall, the Premier of South Australia (SA), announced that the state will effectively close its borders indefinitely from Tuesday, becoming the first state or territory to do so.
Anyone who enters SA from 4 p.m. on Tuesday will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day isolation period.

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