Prime Minister Scott Morrison is getting ahead of the UN World Health Organization and is ordering the Australian government to start treating the Covid-19 outbreak as if it were becoming a global pandemic.

"While the WHO is yet to declare the nature of the coronavirus and its move towards a pandemic phase, we believe the risk of a pandemic is very much upon us and we as a government need to take steps necessary to prepare for such a pandemic," Mr. Morrison said at a news conference following a meeting of the national security committee.

There doesn't appear to be anything in his announcement that will immediately impact Australians - in fact, Morrison said people should still go enjoy a cricket or football game, or Chinese restaurant meal.

"You can do all of these things because Australia has acted quickly, he said, "Australia has gone ahead of this at this point in time.  But to stay ahead of it we need to now elevate our response to the next phase."

The Border Patrol will come up with a system to screen incoming air passengers who appear to have the symptoms of Covid-19, which is a lot like pneumonia.  

Analysts have worried the outbreak will impact the economy, but for now the government is not planning any stimulus measures.

The travel ban on China will continue and be monitored weekly.  International travelers who have been to China will have to wait at least two weeks from the date they departed China before they can enter Australia.

Worst case scenarios could involve some frightening stuff including mass vaccinations of entire suburbs, cities or groups of people; sports stadia used as quarantine sites; and police being ordered to guard critical medical supplies.