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Sex work and horse racing banned as states lock down for virus

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Tasmania has banned sex work and horse racing, Victoria has vetoed all recreational activities apart from basic exercise and Queensland will refuse entry to non-residents from tonight, as Australia tries to keep a lid on the spread of coronavirus.

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Australia has now recorded more than 5100 coronavirus cases, including 24 deaths.

From Friday night, unauthorised travellers who try to enter Queensland by road, air or sea will be turned around under tough new border controls.

The Queensland/NSW border has been closed for a week but returning Queenslanders are being let in, along with freight services.

Anyone else must hold a government permit proving they are travelling for essential reasons, such as work or medical appointments.

Water barriers and check points have been stepped up at Coolangatta at the Gold Coast’s southern edge, with some streets blocked off to stop people trying to avoid checkpoints.

And non-residents who fly in to Queensland but don’t have an entry permit will not be allowed to leave the airport and will be returned to their point of origin on the next available flight.

The state is also closing national parks, walking tracks, and picnic, camping and 4WD areas.

Western Australia will also seal its borders this weekend to become “an island within an island”.

A temporary hard border closure will come into effect from midnight on Sunday, which could leave some locals stranded interstate if they do not make it home in time.

“Some might think it’s over the top and unnecessary. I can assure them that it’s not,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“Our isolation is now our best defence. We need to use it to the best of our advantage.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state would be living in the thick of the coronavirus crisis for “at least six months” despite new infections stabilising.

“We’re in it for at least six months. Until there is a cure, a vaccine, this crisis is something we need to deal with,” she told reporters on Friday.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in NSW has reached 2389, with 91 new cases in the past 24 hours. The state’s death toll sits at 10.

Meanwhile, cruise ships off the NSW coast are beginning to leave, after police appealed for them to return to home ports and not risk overloading NSW hospitals with infected passengers and crew.

Two Carnival ships are currently on their way out of NSW and five Royal Caribbean ships will refuel in Sydney before leaving.

Doctors will be flown onto ships to test and evacuate patients before the vessels depart.

More than 450 cases of coronavirus in NSW have been linked to cruise ships, including 337 from the Ruby Princess.

The cruise ships off NSW are carrying about 8500 crew members. All known Australian crew members have been transferred.

“If a small percentage end up with the virus, it will overwhelm our health system and everything we’ve done to date will be wasted,” Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.

“Every cruise ship that leaves, I see it as a victory for NSW.”.

Victoria has banned fishing, hunting, boating, camping, and golf among other sports and hobbies, after people earlier this week flocked to beaches despite being asked to stay home.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said all recreational activities beyond basic exercise were no longer allowed.

“Hang up your rods, leave the tinnie in the driveway, and clean your clubs at home,” he said.

“These restrictions are tough, but they are there for a reason. If we don’t do this, Victorians will die.”

Tasmania has banned sex work and garage sales, suspended horse and greyhound racing for at least a month and ordered TAB and UBet outlets to close from 6pm Friday.

Premier Peter Gutwein says the ban is to ensure people don’t travel unnecessarily.

“Race meetings draw people from all over the state, many of them that live in regional and rural Tasmania,” he said.

“What we don’t want to do is to increase the risk to those rural and regional communities.”

Tasmanian police also charged a second person with breaching a Public Health Order for not having a reasonable excuse for being away from home.

For at least a month, people are required to stay at home unless they are shopping for essential items, exercising, going to a medical appointment or providing care.

-with AAP

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