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Health Minister explains why schools are closed but childcare centres are still open

Non-essential services have been shut across Australia as the battle to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus escalates, but questions have been raised over some of the services that have been allowed to remain open.

Bars, pubs, clubs, gyms, indoor sports venues, cinemas, entertainment venues and casinos have been shut entirely, while restaurants and cafes are only open for take away.

The start of the school holidays in Victoria has be brought forward from Friday to Tuesday, but childcare centres will remain open.

Health Minister Greg Hunt explained why childcare centres will continue to operate while schools will not.

“In Victoria, what they have done is in order to prepare for online learning they have brought forward the holidays slightly,” he told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

“It’s very unlikely that any childcare centres would be able to conduct online learning because of the nature of kids that age.

“That is, I believe, the basis for the Victorian position.”

Mr Hunt also explained why cinemas have been ordered to close, but shopping centres may remain open.

“Shopping centres, of course, because the purchase of food and goods, of equipment to continue life, were deemed essential, and also because they are non-static,” he said.

“Shopping centres are requested to enforce the one and a half metre rule.

“I’ve have had reports today that is being done very well.”

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Image: Tracey Nearmy / Stringer

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