Adelaide, March 19 : The state of South Australia (SA) has allowed its retail sector to trade 24 hours in an effort to counter the widespread panic due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the new rules announced by the state government on Wednesday, shops will be allowed to trade 24 hours a day from Monday to Friday for the first time ever, Xinhua news agency reported.
On Saturdays, the shops will be operational from 12 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Previously shops were not allowed to remain open past 9 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on weekends.
The changes, which will come into effect on Saturday, were made to ensure that South Australians have adequate access to food and medical supplies.
"We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure not only is the community protected and jobs sustained, but that we get through this stronger and more resilient," Steven Marshall, the Premier of SA, told News Corp Australia.
"This will give traders the opportunity to spread their customer load over a longer number of hours." "We also anticipate this will help with jobs with more people needed to stock shelves." Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday morning delivered a blunt warning to Australians to "stop hoarding", declaring the practice of panic-buying as "un-Australian".
Australia has reported 565 cases with six fatalities.