In a press conference on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus in Australia, and chief medical officer Brendan Murphy urged the public to stay home unless absolutely necessary.

A new two-person limit for gatherings in public spaces is now in place, which will be up to state leaders to enforce.

The two-person limit also applies to outdoor group-exercise classes and boot camps, which Morrison acknowledged “doesn’t really make it a boot camp, that makes it a private session with your trainer.”

Playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skateparks will be closed from Monday.

Perhaps most critically, Morrison stressed that “the strong advice” is for the public to stay home unless absolutely necessary.

“You should only be going out to shop for things that you actually need,” Morrison said, before classing essential outings as food shopping, receiving medical care, exercising, attending work (for those who can’t work remotely), and leaving the house for compassionate reasons.

“These arrangements should also apply to those with chronic illness, over 60, and Indigenous persons over the age of 50,” Morrison said.

Those who do leave their homes are reminded of social distancing guidelines, which include maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres from others at all times and avoiding physical greetings.

“Anyone who doesn’t need to be out of their home should be in the home. This is radical,” added chief medical officer Murphy. “The vast majority of Australians have done the right thing in the last week. We’ve seen huge evidence of that. But we’ve also seen some very silly behaviour of people who haven’t complied with that, particularly outdoors.”

A six-month moratorium on rental evictions has also been announced for those under financial stress.

“My message to tenants – particularly commercial tenants and commercial landlords – is a very straightforward one,” Morrison said. “We need you to sit down, talk to each other and work this out ... and come up with arrangements that enable them to get through this crisis.”

health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus