Australians have been told tonight not to go out in public with more than one other person while all public spaces including parks, playgrounds, skateparks and outside gyms will be closed from midday tomorrow in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a press conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said states and territories could decide whether to make the strict new rules enforceable but it was strongly advised that "unless it's your household, the family, those that are living at your residence" do not go out with more than one other person.

There are now 3981 confirmed cases across the country.

Sections of the Australian community have been ignoring the Government advice on social distancing. Pictured: St Kilda beach yesterday. Photo / Supplied
Sections of the Australian community have been ignoring the Government advice on social distancing. Pictured: St Kilda beach yesterday. Photo / Supplied

That includes 1791 in New South Wales, 769 in Victoria, 656 in Queensland, 299 in South Australia, 312 in Western Australia, 62 in Tasmania, 77 in the Australian Capital Territory and 15 in the Northern Territory.

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The number of Australians who have died after contracting COVID-19 has now reached 16.

From tomorrow, all Australians are urged to only go out to shop "for what you need, food and essential supplies", shop as infrequently as possible, to attend medical care, exercise and work or education if you were unable to work or learn remotely.

Professor Brendan Murphy, Australia's Chief Medical Officer, said: "It is very simple. We need to all stay home unless we are going out to shop, to do personal exercise, to go to medical appointments, or to go to work or study if you can't work from home.

"Anyone who doesn't need to be out of their home should be in the home. This is radical."

Morrison also advised Australians over 70 "on the basis of strong advice" to stay at home and self-isolate "for their own protection".

"To the maximum extent practical," Mr Morrison said.

"This is for their own protection to limit their interaction with others in the community," he said, reflecting Australians' lack of social distancing over the weekend.

Earlier, young Australians were warned they are putting other lives at risk after a number of house parties and social outings were caught in the act.

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Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

In a press conference on Sunday, the Prime Minister made a direct point to Australians, particularly in their 20s and 30s, who seem to have the "view that because they are healthier that they are not transmitters of the virus".

"They are transmitters of the virus," Mr Morrison said earlier Sunday.

"While they themselves may only have a mild case but that is no guarantee, what they are doing by having that view, is that they are putting other people's peoples lives at risk."

People flouting social distancing requirements have been photographed at Manly Beach. Photo / 9 News
People flouting social distancing requirements have been photographed at Manly Beach. Photo / 9 News

Morrison said the new advice to older Australians "does not mean they cannot go outside.

"They can go outside and be accompanied by a support person for the purposes of getting fresh air and recreation but should limit contact with others as much as possible.

A fruit stall at Roselands shopping centre on Sunday where fewer customers than usual browsed in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images
A fruit stall at Roselands shopping centre on Sunday where fewer customers than usual browsed in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images

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

The Australian PM also announced a six-month moratorium on evictions.

After tonight's National Cabinet meeting, the PM said it had been decided that governments would excuse people or businesses who were unable to meet rental commitments as a result of financial distress.

"State and Territories will be moving to put a moratorium on evictions of persons as a result of financial distress if they are unable to meet their commitments," he said.

"And so there would be a moratorium on evictions for the next six months under those rental arrangements."

Morrison said there would be more details to come regarding decisions made on commercial and residential tenancies discussed at tonight's meeting, saying the Nation Cabinet had agreed "on a series of principles, which I will release through a statement".

He also indicated there was more work to be done to resolve tenancy issues, not only by the Government but by businesses, landlords and banks.

"My message to tenants, particularly commercial tenants, and commercial landlords, is a very straightforward one – we need you to sit down, talk to each other and work this out about looking at the businesses which have been closed, businesses that may have had a significant reduction in their revenues.

"We need landlords and tenants to sit down and come up with arrangements that enable them to get through this crisis so on the other side, the landlord has a tenant which is a business that can pay rent, and the business is a business that can re-emerge on the other side of this and be able to go on and employ people on the other side of these arrangements."