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Australia’s coronavirus shutdown comes into force

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Shuttered shops, empty streets and queues at Centrelink offices will be the new normal as tighter restrictions came into effect from midnight.

Australia has been placed into an even tighter lockdown as governments desperately try to slow the spread of the coronavirus and prevent the disaster situation seen in other countries.

Further restrictions on businesses, community facilities and public spaces came into effect at midnight.

READ MORE: Keep up-to-date with rolling 9News coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic

The crackdown will lead to wider job losses as more businesses are forced to draw the shutters for what could be months.

Scenes of thousands of people queuing at Centrelink offices around the country have underscored the seriousness of the issue.

Economists predict 814,000 Australians will be added to dole queues before the end of June.

Officials are battling to stop the spread of the coronavirus and prevent the nation's health system becoming overloaded.

A total of 2,423 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Australia as at 3pm on Wednesday.

Australia's death toll rose to nine on Wednesday with the death of a 68-year-old man in Queensland.

READ MORE: Australia's coronavirus toll rises to nine with Queensland death

Of those with the virus, 197 people are in hospital with 17 in intensive care.

More than 169,000 people have been tested so far.

COVID-19: Stage Two restrictions and closures

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the infectiousness of the virus was such that one sick person could lead to 400 more contracting the disease within a month if they didn't stick to distancing and quarantine measures.

"That is the disaster situation we've been seeing in other countries. That is what we are trying to prevent," he said.

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All non-urgent elective surgery has been put on indefinite hold in a bid to free up capacity across the hospital system.

"The most urgent message... is to stay home if you're sick, " Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

"It is also important that people should stay home when they're in self-isolation.

"Our instruction (to healthy people) is, more generally, stay home unless you're going out for essentials."

READ MORE: Five things you can do for free at home if you're self-isolating

The government is sending text messages telling Australians: "Stop the spread, stay 1.5m from others, follow rules on social gatherings, wash hands, stay home if sick".

An expanded list of businesses were forced to close their doors at midnight on Wednesday with an emphasis on stopping large gatherings.

Open house inspections and auctions are banned as are personal services such as beauty therapy, waxing, tattoo parlours and massage.

Most community facilities will also close, including libraries, swimming pools, RSL clubs, galleries and community centres.

Weddings will be restricted to the couple, celebrant and two witnesses only, while funerals can only have a maximum of 10 mourners.

State governments will also be policing social gatherings in public spaces and in people's houses.

The government has also used biosecurity laws to ban Australians from travelling overseas.

Coronavirus: How to protect yourself and others

The new restrictions and closures:

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Coronavirus restrictions and closures previously announced:

– Reported with AAP.

You can find more information about the international coronavirus outbreak from the World Health Organisation and

Source: 9News

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