Coronavirus patients could be detained against their will, but the Attorney-General says that would be a last resort.
Attorney-General Christian Porter says it is “very likely” never-before-used biosecurity laws will be invoked, after it was revealed Australia had recorded its first cases of human-to-human transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The nation’s chief health officers will also meet today to consider additional “social distancing” restrictions.
Under biosecurity laws introduced in 2015, the Government has the power to forcibly detain and decontaminate people with the virus, and prevent people from attending mass gatherings.
Mr Porter said it was “very likely these laws will get used on a larger scale”.
Experts say more Australian cases of the virus will be diagnosed, but a mass outbreak is still avoidable.
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In This Story: Australia
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In This Story: COVID-19
Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
- a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
- shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)
Latest News about Covid-19
Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.