The new national cabinet is meeting today to consider banning groups of more than 100 people in enclosed areas.
The proposal was first brought up with state and territory leaders on Sunday and comes after warnings of an “exponential” rise in the number of coronavirus infections.
The virus has now infected 298 people and claimed five lives in Australia.
But Australia could see between 40,000 and 80,000 cases a day by August, with estimates as high as 300,000 cases a day by July if the disease is allowed to spread “unmitigated”, according to government modelling.
The national cabinet is also looking at the likely cancellation of Anzac day commemorations, which have already been cancelled in NSW, WA and Tasmania.
“What we need to do is slow the spread so we can protect the more vulnerable in the community who are at a much greater risk,” PM Scott Morrison said. “So if we slow that spread, we are going to save more lives.”
Tourism and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the tourism and aviation industries were among those being hit the hardest at present.
“There is no doubt that job losses are occurring already and, sadly, will continue to occur,” Birmingham said.