PM announces further shutdowns, travel bans in bid to slow virus spread

"Weddings can be conducted where it is just the couple, the celebrant and witness - five people", outlined Morrison.

Exceptions to the ban include essential aid- and work-related travel and travel for compassionate reasons.

Morrison told reporters in Canberra that Australians would be urged to "stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary you go out", suggesting that outings should be limited to "basics" such as attendance at work, exercise with a partner or small group, or attending shops to buy food or medicine.

"Sadly, also, and I know this will be very hard, funerals to no more than 10 persons observing the rules around the four-square metre rule and the social distancing practices".

"Large gathering for weddings, sadly, will not be possible".

The Prime Minister has announced a raft of tough new restrictions in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus with large weddings and funerals among the new things to be banned.

The Prime Minister says holding a house party could become a criminal offence, in an effort to protect Australians from the spread of COVID-19.

An eighth person, a woman in her 70s, died and the number of cases rose fastest in the most populous states of New South Wales and Victoria.

Earlier, Hunt said the government's "general direction" was that people should "spend more time at home, obviously keeping the distance" but it would use a "staged approach" to implement further restrictions.

The new measures were announced shortly after Morrison met with the national cabinet of premiers and chief ministers who have been tasked with dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Morrison said the government had been making the point for some time that no-one should be getting on a plane and going overseas for some time.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was clear from the numbers of people still travelling that some are defying advice not to travel anywhere in the world.

"Australians who have lost hours, lost work, businesses that have been forced to close businesses, these are heart-breaking events in our nation's history and story".

"The medical expert advice on schools has not changed".

For many, there has been anger over mixed messages from officials in Australia's system of federal and state governments, which are separately responsible for regulating different services.

Schools will remain open for "essential workers", a term that was broadly defined.

"Stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary that you go out", the prime minister told citizens.

It is safe to send children to school up to the end of the term.

"I thought that would have been fully complied with and Australians are pretty good but we need to put the arrangements in place".

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