Coronavirus: Scott Morrison imposes 14-day self-isolation on all international arrivals to Australia

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has imposed a 14-day self-isolation period for all international flights into Australia due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

It will be enforced from midnight on Sunday (local time).

Australian citizens will also be required to self-isolate when returning to the country.

"We seek to assist Australians coming home by ensuring the flights continue to run, but when they come home, they will spend another 14 days in self-isolation," Morrison said.

He said the imposed self-isolation would do an "effective job" of flattening the infection curve.

All cruise ships from international ports are also banned from arriving in Australia for 30 days.

Morrison said the new measures are part of a "second phase" of the country's response to COVID-19.

His new measures are similar to New Zealand's when it comes to overseas arrivals.

The new rules follow the ban of "non-essential" organised mass gatherings of more than 500 people across Australia from Monday. However, this ban doesn't include schools, universities and shopping centres.

He said although parents may have anxiety about their children contracting coronavirus in the classroom, the advice he received is they should remain open.

"[It] could put at great risk the availability of critical workers such as nurses, doctors and others who are essential in the community because they would have to remain home and look after their children."

There are now at least 250 cases of COVID-19 across Australia and three people have died. Of those cases, 134 are in New South Wales, 57 in Victoria, 46 in Queensland, 19 in South Australia, 17 in Western Australia, six in Tasmania, one in ACT and one in Northern Territory.