Shane Warne was among a number of Australian sporting stars to hit out at Scott Morrison on Tuesday night after the Prime Minister’s ‘confusing’ press conference.
The Prime Minister announced that Australians will face even tighter restrictions on daily life, including strict rules around weddings and funerals, as the country grapples with the “very concerning” growth in coronavirus cases.
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An expanded list of businesses will be forced to close their doors at midnight on Wednesday with an emphasis on stopping large gatherings as COVID-19 infections in Australia double every four days, reaching 2136 earlier in the day.
Weddings and funerals are now limited to five and 10 people respectively, but Mr Morrison maintained “it is safe to send your children to school”.
“It’s going to be a tough year in 2020 and one of the things I don’t want to have yielded up is a year of a child’s education, which is so important,” he said on Tuesday night.
“We need to work so hard together to try and ensure that those kids get that education and that is not lost to this virus.”
Shane Warne leads attack on Scott Morrison
A number of Aussie sporting identities were left confused by what they perceived as mixed messages from the Prime Minister.
Warne took to Twitter to write: “Listening to the PM like everyone here in Australia and what I understood was, ‘It’s essential, unless it’s not. Then it’s essentially not essential. I can’t be clearer’.
“Plus people can buy a new shirt at a shopping centre? WTF? PM just had a shocker. Surely should be in lockdown now.
“I know it’s impossible to please everyone as PM at the moment, but surely clear rules and lockdown for Australia as of NOW is the only decision – end of.
“Let’s learn from the mistakes other countries have made. Health has to be the most important thing for everyone!”
Listening to the PM like everyone here in Aust & what I understood was.
“It’s essential. Unless it’s not. Then it’s essentially not essential. I can’t be clearer” Plus people can buy a new shirt at a shopping centre ? WTF? PM just had a shocker. Surely should be in lockdown now
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) March 24, 2020
Ps I know it’s impossible to please everyone as PM at the moment, but surely clear rules and lockdown for Australia as of NOW is the only decision - end of. Let’s learn from the mistakes other countries have made. Health has to be the most important thing for everyone !
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) March 24, 2020
Former AFL players Brendan Fevola and Ryan Fitzgerald were also critical, as was Aussie cricket captain Aaron Finch.
I’ve got my hairdressers funeral at an amusement park tomorrow. Is it essential that i go after i drop the kids off at school?
— Ryan Fitzgerald (@FitzySA) March 24, 2020
I’m more bloody confused now that I was before the PM’s press conference!! 🤯
— Aaron Finch (@AaronFinch5) March 24, 2020
Send your kids to school but if someone dies you can only have 10 people attend a funeral no more. That makes sense bloke needs to stop. 🤦♂️
— Brendan Fevola (@BrendanFevola25) March 24, 2020
Stop being a banana and stay home for a few weeks. Don't be the “she’ll be right” donkey. #2cents
— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) March 24, 2020
Morrison defends keeping schools open
Mr Morrison acknowledged it would be tough as even large social gatherings in homes are banned.
“Barbecues of lots of friends or even ... extended family coming together to celebrate one-year-old birthday parties and all these sorts of things - we can't do those things now,” he said.
“If you're gathering together in a group, say 10 people, outside together in a group, that's not OK.”
Mr Morrison also said Australians will be banned from travelling overseas after it became clear that some are defying the advice not to travel anywhere in the world.
Small exceptions will be made for aid workers and other vital government travel.
But Mr Morrison said it was still safe to send children to school and will meet education unions on Wednesday.
He said it's vital that essential workers be able to send their children to school if they needed to.
“Who is an essential worker? Someone who has a job.”
Schools in Victoria and the ACT have closed but remain open in NSW, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland.