Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged his people to avoid using the word "lockdown", saying it creates "unnecessary anxiety" and contributes to panic-buying.

Speaking after a national cabinet meeting yesterday, he suggested the word would give people the false impression they couldn't go out and buy essential supplies.

"I would caution against the way people talk about this word 'lockdown','' he said.

"I don't want to give people … the idea that that is going to be the place we might get to, where people can't go out and get essential supplies, that they can't get the things they need to actually live life for the next six months.


"So, when we talk about potential other restrictions, there is no need for people to rush out and cram supermarkets and do things like that, because of other restrictions that may become necessary."

New Zealand has been lockdown for three days in its fight against Covid-19. Officials in NZ are urging Kiwis to "stay in their bubble" as the best way to protect people.

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He said a total lockdown was "not an arrangement that is actually being considered in the way that term might suggest".

The PM noted the states and territories "do have different experiences with the outbreaks in their various locations", saying they were working on possible additional restrictions.

The state premiers in NSW and Victoria have foreshadowed stricter moves – potentially including a full lockdown – if the increase in new cases doesn't slow.

The number of confirmed cases in Australia has risen past 3000, with 1405 in NSW and 574 in Victoria.

Both states now sit at stage two restrictions, meaning pubs and clubs are closed, restaurants and cafes are limited to takeaway and fitness centres are shut.


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said stage three restrictions could be imposed in his state in the near future.

"As I said on Wednesday, there will be a stage three. That is not today (but) there will be a further stage,'' he said yesterday.

NSW is likewise on the brink of announcing new restrictions, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday revealing at least 145 COVID-19 cases appeared to be due to community transmission.

"The community-to-community transmission is what we're concerned with. When you have cases that come from overseas, you can monitor them and you have a source," she said on Friday morning.

"But when it's community-to-community transmission and you don't have a source, that means the virus is starting to spread in the community without us knowing exactly where. That is a concern," she said.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the full effect of the second stage of shutdowns wouldn't be known for some days.

A stage three shutdown would likely mirror that of the United Kingdom, where tougher restrictions have been put in place to stop community transmission of the virus.

On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a three-week lockdown that would see all shops selling non-essential goods shut, schools closed and meetings of more than two people in public banned.

Gyms, libraries and places of worship would also remain closed, while vets, pharmacies, corner shops and dry cleaners would remain open. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website