Coronavirus: Australia orders new arrivals to self-isolate for two weeks

The move by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government mirrors measures already taken by New Zealand

Australia ordered all travellers coming from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days and banned cruise ships from foreign ports for 30 days in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the measures after a meeting with a newly formed national cabinet aimed at addressing the issue.

The restrictions mirror those imposed in neighbouring New Zealand.

The strict measures were designed to help Australia “flatten the peak” of the illness, Mr Morrison told a news conference.

“To help stay ahead of this curve, we will impose a universal precautionary self-isolation requirement on all international arrivals to Australia and that is effective from midnight tonight,” he said.

“Further, the Australian government will also ban cruise ships from foreign ports from arriving at Australian ports for an initial 30 days.”

The border restrictions came as Australia recorded more than 250 cases of coronavirus and three deaths.

As of March 15, Covid-19, the deadly respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, had infected 156,00 people globally and killed more than 5,800. More than 75,000 have recovered.

Australia has already imposed bans for travellers from Italy, South Korea, Iran and China, countries with high infection rates.

The bans mean foreign nationals who have been in any of the four nations will not be allowed into Australia for 14 days from the time they left those countries.

Australian citizens and permanent residents travelling from those countries will still be able to enter Australia but must self-isolate for a fortnight after returning home.