SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian officials warned that an accelerating number of coronavirus infections could start overwhelming the country’s intensive care units, as stricter social distancing measures came into force on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new curbs late on Tuesday that will close more non-essential businesses, pushing the country closer to the stricter lockdown measures imposed in parts of Europe.
The latest restrictions limit the number of people attending a wedding to five – the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses – while funerals will be limited to 10 people.
“These are very difficult changes that we’re asking Australians to make,” Morrison said in a televised media conference.
As Australian case numbers surged past 2,250, Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews said if the same long queues appearing outside offices of the main welfare agency, Centrelink, started forming at hospitals, there would be fatal consequences.