Government advises against all ‘non-essential’ events over 500 people

The Federal Government has advised against all “non-essential” gatherings of more than 500 people in response to the escalation of coronavirus outbreak.

“We will be advising against organised non essential gatherings of persons of 500 people or greater from Monday,” Morrison said following a meeting with the states’ premiers on Friday.

The ban, which was recommended by chief medical officer Brendan Murphy, includes sporting events, concerts and conferences, but doesn’t include schools, university lectures, public transport or going to airports or people’s “normal everyday business”.

“There was growing evidence of greater community transmission of the coronavirus throughout Australia,” Morrison said. “The goal here is very straightforward it is simply to slow the rate of transmission of the coronavirus within Australia.”

Morrison also urged against overseas travel.

“Only essential travel should be considered if you’re going overseas from this point onwards,” he said.

The announcement came as the number of confirmed cases within Australia reached 194, including actor Tom Hanks who is in isolation at the Gold Coast University Hospital after testing positive earlier this week.

Morrison said he would still attend the Cronulla Sharks game against the Rabbitohs on Saturday, but made an abrupt u-turn after discovering that fellow cabinet colleague Peter Dutton had tested positive for coronavirus.