Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Monday that “2020 will be the toughest year of our lives,” as the country rolled out new, tougher measures to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
Speaking in Parliament, Morrison called on Australians to stand up to the “unprecedented challenge” of the global health crisis.
At midday Monday, businesses across Australia followed the government’s orders to shut down bars, restaurants, gyms, places of worship and other venues where people traditionally congregate.
“Life is changing in Australia for every Australian and life is going to continue to change,” he said. “For many young and old, 2020 will be the toughest year of our lives.”
Morrison’s remarks came as long queues were seen outside Centrelink offices around the country, where people were lined up to apply for social services payouts.
“As Australia works to flatten the curve and slow this virus, we also face an immense economic challenge…this is the biggest economic shock our nation has faced in generations,” Morrison said.
The Australian government website where residents sign up for benefits and jobseekers’ allowance crashed Monday, Government Services Minister Stuart Roberts said.
Roberts said a distributed denial of service (DDOS) alarm was triggered on the MyGov site when 95,000 users logged on at the same time just after 9 a.m., Monday morning. The system was built for 55,000 concurrent users, he said, adding that the government is examining ways to expand the system’s capacity.
A statement from the Australian Cyber Security Centre said the government is currently investigating the outage but has no evidence to suggest it was caused by malicious cyber activity.
As of Monday, Australia reported 1,479 confirmed cases and seven deaths from the novel coronavirus, according to the country’s Department of Health.