Aussies told not to travel overseas
Australians have been urged to reconsider any "non-essential" overseas travel, as the government ramps up its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison advised all Aussies to reconsider any overseas travel they may have planned.
"We have also decided through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that we now advise all Australians to reconsider your need to travel overseas at this time, regardless of your destination, age or health - if your travel is not essential, consider carefully whether now is the right time," Mr Morrison told reporters this afternoon.
"So we are effectively putting in place what is called a level three travel advice for travel of Australians overseas.
"This is done to protect their health and to limit their exposure, given we have so many countries now that are affected by the coronavirus."
Mr Morrison warned all citizens to "heed" this advice and undertake only essential overseas travel.
"Given the spread of the coronavirus to so many countries now, across Europe, including to the UK, the United States, and throughout the world, I think this is a very commonsense measure to put in place at this point," he said.
"Up until this time that has not been the advice. Even a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about the number of countries through whom the coronavirus had spread, being less than 50.
"It's well over 100 now and more are added every day. So as you see things move to a pandemic phase, then these are the sorts of measures you put in place and you do it at the right time."
This advice comes as Mr Morrison announced all non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people should not go ahead from Monday.
"That, of course, doesn't include schools. It doesn't include university lectures. It doesn't mean people getting on public transport or going to airports or things of that nature," he told reporters.
More to come.