Australian PM tells citizens not to travel overseas

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared a “human biosecurity emergency” Wednesday, telling citizens not to travel abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He also banned gatherings of more than 100 people.

"We haven't seen this sort of thing in Australia since the end of the First World War,” Morrison said in a news conference. “Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world. Life is going to continue to change, as we deal with the global coronavirus. This is a once-in-a-hundred-year type event.”

The country has reported nearly 500 cases and six deaths so far mostly from Australians returning from other countries, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said.

Australian official who met Ivanka Trump, Bill Barr, tests positive for coronavirus

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks in Sydney, Feb. 23, 2020. (Associated Press)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks in Sydney, Feb. 23, 2020. (Associated Press)

Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson became two of the first high-profile cases last week while they were in Australia where Hanks was filming a movie. They remain in the country in self-quarantine but are doing well, Hanks wrote on Instagram this week.

Senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump worked from home Friday “out of an abundance of caution” after she met with Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton last week who later tested positive.

The White House said in a statement she wasn’t exhibiting symptoms and, in accordance with CDC guidance, didn’t need to self-quarantine.


Attorney General William Barr and senior adviser Kellyanne Conway also met with Dutton. Barr stayed home Friday as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.