FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a state memorial honouring victims of the Australian bushfires at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, February 23, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
SYDNEY (Reuters) – There is every sign the world is about to be gripped by a pandemic of coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Thursday, as Australia kicked off emergency measures to restrain the spread of the disease.
“The advice we have received today is…there is every indication that the world will soon enter a pandemic phase of the coronavirus,” Morrison told a televised news conference in Canberra, the capital.
“And as a result we have agreed today and initiated the…coronavirus emergency response plan,” he added.
Australia will extend a travel ban on foreigners arriving from China by at least another week, Morrison said, although there was as yet no need to stop mass gatherings, such as football games.
Reporting by Colin Packham and Swati Pandey