Sydney [Australia], April 2 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday announced a free childcare program for working parents who are unable to take care of their children at home especially during the coronavirus crisis.
"If you have a job in this economy then that is an essential job," Morrison was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
"It is important that all of those parents who have children, that they get access to childcare and those facilities will be there for them," he added.
The childcare centers will prioritize the children of essential workers who find it difficult to care for their children at home, and will then try to accommodate the parents who have taken their children out of schools and care homes in view of the surging cases of COVID-19.
Morrison, however, said that health advice on sending children to school or childcare had not changed.
"There is no health risk to children going to school or going to child care," he noted.
But he also mentioned at the same time that because many parents had voluntarily pulled their children out of schools, it had made some centers unviable.
"Now, what we are doing here is ensuring that the same arrangements exist for childcare centers [as for schools] so people who have those jobs won't have their livelihoods put at risk," the prime minister said.
"This virus is going to take enough from Australians without putting Australian parents in that position of having to choose between the economic wellbeing of their family or the care, support, and education of their children," he added.
Earlier this week, Australia announced tightening measures to try to stop the spread of COVID-19, including gatherings limited to a maximum of two people and mostly be at home, apart from essential reasons. The country has so far reported 21 deaths and nearly 5,000 infection-related cases. (ANI)