Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today announced that Australians returning from overseas as the coronavirus pandemic worsens will now be quarantined in hotels and other facilities for two weeks (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Australians returning from overseas as the coronavirus pandemic worsens will now be quarantined in hotels and other facilities for two weeks before returning to their homes.
The crackdown on international travellers will come into effect on Saturday night and be enforced by the states and territories with support from the Australian Defence Force.
People will be quarantined in the city they fly to, regardless of whether it's in their home state.
Defence personnel will also help enforce existing self-isolation restrictions on people who have already returned from overseas to ensure they are staying at home for 14 days.
Almost two-thirds of the more than 3000 cases of coronavirus recorded in Australia are among people who have returned from overseas.
A significant percentage of the remaining cases are believed to have been transmitted to others by returned overseas travellers.
The prime minister acknowledged the new quarantine measures were tough but insisted they were necessary and non-negotiable.
Scott Morrison urged Australians wanting to fly home to do so as quickly as possible, given countries are rapidly closing their borders as the deadly disease continues to spread.
"It won't be too long before it will be very difficult to get back into Australia," he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
The states and territories will shoulder the cost of quarantine in hotels, with NSW to have the greatest burden, given it has the most arrivals.
The federal government contribution will be to provide ADF troops to enforce the self-isolation rules.
About 7000 Australians return from overseas daily despite strong travel restrictions and warnings.
© AAP 2020