Coronavirus Rule Breakers Can Be Fined $1,000 From Today As New Laws Kick In
NSW Police are now able to hand out on-the-spot fines to anyone who breaches public health orders or ministerial directions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Officers from Thursday will have the power to issue fines of $1000 to individuals and $5000 to businesses that breach public health orders or ministerial directions, Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced on Wednesday.
People in the firing line include returned travellers who contravene the requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days and those diagnosed with COVID-19 who similarly don't follow the rules.
Fines will also apply for breaches of the prohibition on outdoor gatherings of 500 people and indoor gatherings of 100 people.
It follows the passing of legislation in the NSW parliament on Tuesday to help tackle the spread.
Under the bill, police will be able to arrest people reasonably suspected of breaching COVID-19 public health orders and return them home or to a place of detention.
It comes as a two-month-old boy and a seven-year-old girl became the first children under 10 to contract COVID-19 in NSW.
The children both had contact with people with coronavirus, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said on Wednesday.
They are among the 1029 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. Of those, about 500 people contracted the disease while overseas.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the public needs to step up to slow the spread of the virus which has so far killed nine people in Australia, including seven in NSW.
She backed new public restrictions announced by the prime minister on Tuesday night to control the spread of COVID-19.
"This is a time that all of us have to step up," Berejiklian said.
"We need to make sure the community does the right thing by yourself, your family and others."
The premier said there will be thresholds in place allowing NSW to take further action, separate to other states, once the number of community transmissions reaches a set amount.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes on Wednesday said usual planning controls restricting trading hours had been scrapped to allow for round-the-clock trading for supermarkets and pharmacies to make it easier for consumers to buy food and medical supplies.
State Opposition Leader Jodi McKay said NSW must be placed in full lockdown.
"We are losing control of COVID-19 and if we don't lock down NSW the current spike will turn into a full-blown explosion," the Labor leader said in a statement.
Ten people with COVID-19 are in intensive care in NSW hospitals.