The government has tightened the shutdown further, closing seating in food courts, open homes and beauty salons other than hairdressers from midnight on Wednesday.
Weddings and funerals have been drastically curtailed. Weddings are only allowed with a couple, a celebrant and witnesses, no more than five people. Funerals are restricted to 10 people, with weddings and funerals both required to adhere to the rule of one person for each four square metres of space, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday evening.
He also announced that Australia's "do not travel" advice was now a ban on all overseas travel - other than some exceptions such as aid work in the Pacific and possibly also some compassionate travel.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said authorities were "very worried about the rate of rise of the number of coronavirus cases in Australia, particularly over the last few days".
"It is a very, very steep growth and it is very concerning," he said.
Australia now has 2136 cases, with an eighth person dying on Tuesday - a woman from the Ruby Princess cruise ship. Numbers have almost doubled in two days.
Beauty, tattoo and massage parlours must close by midnight on Wednesday. Hairdressers are allowed to operate with strict social distancing and a limit of 30 minutes for the time a customer can spend at a hairdresser.
Arcades and play centres must now close, joining indoor gyms which were closed on Monday.
Galleries, museums, youth centers, swimming pools and community clubs must also close, joining churches and other places of worship which were also closed on Monday.
Auctions, including real-estate auctions and open homes, are also now banned.
The new bans add to Monday's closure of restaurants and cafes, other than for takeaway, and clubs, nightclubs, entertainment venues and indoor gyms.
Under the new closures from midnight on Wednesday, personal training is limited to 10 people, and Mr Morrison urged people not to gather outside. People should only leave their home for essentials such as shopping and to exercise alone or with family.
"If you're gathering together in a group, say, 10 people, together, outside in a group, that's not OK," he said.
People should also limit visitors to their own homes.
"So that means barbecues of lots of friends, or even family, extended family, coming together to celebrate 1-year-old birthday parties and those sorts of things, we can't do those things now," he said.
"These will be a significant sacrifice, I know. We've all been to those events as extended families and gatherings. And gathering together in that way, even around the large family table in the family home when all the siblings get together and bring the kids, these are not things we can do now."
Mr Morrison said the states and territories would consider making house parties an offence.
But schools remain open for the rest of the term, and in the next term would operate with a mix of distance learning and teaching at school. Mr Morrison said parents who had to be at work and could not stay at home with their children should be able to send their children to school.
"Everyone who has a job in this economy is an essential worker," he said, listing not only doctors and teachers, but public servants and call centre operators at Centrelink, people stacking shelves and "people earning money in their family when another member of their family may have lost their job and can no longer earn - that's an essential job".
Mr Morrison made the announcement after a meeting of the national cabinet, made up of state and territory and national leaders.
Professor Murphy said the measures were restrictive without "completely destroying life as we know it", but if Australians did not adhere to them stronger measures still could follow.
"These measures are really draconian. We know that. But if we're going to control community transmission, we have to stop the capacity of this virus from spreading," he said.
The Group of Eight universities urged the government this week to "go now, go hard", pointing out that Australia's cases were increasing at the same rate as China and South Korea when they took drastic action.
China had implemented large scale lockdowns on January 23rd, when China was at roughly the same stage of exponential growth as Australia now.
"The government has a short and vital window to act and avoid the trajectory of those nations," the universities said in advice to the government on Monday.
The group also called for mass testing and stronger social distancing measures.
"To do otherwise is risking collapse of our health service and the breakdown of COVID-19 management," it said, in a letter obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald.
- For information on COVID-19, please go to the federal Health Department's website.
- You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
- If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000)
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