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Prime Minister assures Australians ‘plans are in place’ to deal with coronavirus

The Prime Minister says plans are in place to deal with a mass coronavirus outbreak here in Australia but insists people should go about their everyday life for now.

Nearly 3000 people have been killed by the virus in mainland China, more than the SARS and MERS death tolls combined, and more than 80,000 people have been infected globally.

Australia has become the first country in the world to declare coronavirus a pandemic, which triggers an emergency response plan.

State and federal health ministers are meeting today to discuss emergency plans, including sweeping powers for governments if an outbreak occurs.

Schools will be allowed to be shut down, aged care facilities can be isolated and a stimulus package is being considered.

Scott Morrison tells Alan Jones there’s no need to be fearful but says there is good reason to be prepared.

“We’re not immune from it but we’re well prepared,” the PM says.

“If it starts transmitting within Australia, the plans are in place to deal with that, to slow it down, to make sure our health facilities can cope.

“This virus is about 10 times more severe than the flu when it comes to its rate of mortality.

“We don’t want people to be alarmed by this, we want them to be assured.”

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Image: SMH/Alex Ellinghausen