Australia’s job crisis: Second billion-dollar coronavirus care package set to be announced

By Australian Associated Press

More economic support is on the way as Australia faces unprecedented measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Australians have been told not to travel overseas, while Aussies abroad have been told they should return home.

Non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people have also been banned, on top of a ban on events bigger than 500 people.

Schools are staying open but strict restrictions have been placed on visitors to aged care homes to protect the elderly from contracting the virus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a blunt warning for people to stop panic-buying and hoarding groceries, as supermarkets put limits on purchases.

Mr Morrison says the public health crises will continue for at least six months.

“There is no two-week answer to what we’re confronting,” he said in Canberra on Wednesday.

“The idea that you can just turn everything off for two weeks and then turn it all back on again and it all goes away, that is not the evidence.”

Mr Morrison also took aim at those spreading false news on social media, describing it as “despicable behaviour” and “downright dangerous”.

“That is a very dangerous and reckless thing that you’re doing, and you’re a danger to you fellow countrymen and women,” he told Sky News on Wednesday night.

“There are many Australians in this country right now whose lives are at risk from this in vulnerable areas and you’re not helping them.”

He urged Australians to rely on official information regarding the virus.

The government is finalising a second stimulus package in a bid to cushion the blow of the virus so the economy can bounce back when the crisis is over.

Protecting Australian jobs and businesses is set to be the focus of the package, which Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says will be “significant”.

The government has announced a $715 million assistance package for airlines that will give the carriers relief from airport fees and other aviation industry charges.

It’s on top of $17.6 billion worth of measures announced last week.

National coronavirus cases are approaching 560, an increase of 400 in five days, and six people have died.

NSW Health confirmed an 86-year-old man died on Tuesday night in a Sydney hospital.

Of the 81,000 people tested, 99.5 per cent have been negative.

Mr Morrison is set to discuss the coronavirus pandemic with Donald Trump and other G20 leaders in a “virtual summit” next week.

The leaders will discuss a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic.