March 11, 2020 / 12:08 AM / in 20 days

Australia unveils $1.6 bln health package to combat coronavirus

SYDNEY, March 11 (Reuters) - Australia unveiled a A$2.40 billion ($1.56 billion) health package on Wednesday that proposes to set up fever clinics and offer cost-free facilities for people to consult doctors over video calls, as it combats the spread of the coronavirus.

“Just under $1.2 billion of that will actually, we anticipate, be spent this financial year, particularly as the virus and its impacts ramp up in the months ahead,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in Canberra.

Australia has also extended its travel ban for Italy from 1800 local time (0700 GMT) on Wednesday, after Italy expanded a lockdown to cover the entire country to contain the spread of the virus. ($1 = 1.5413 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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