Police Confirm It’s Okay To Visit Your Partner During 'Lockdown'
As confusion builds about what is still legal under new coronavirus laws, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has finally confirmed people can visit their partners, because it classifies as 'care'.
Asked on Wednesday morning if people can still visit their "boyfriend or girlfriend", Fuller replied: "Absolutely! That's under care."
"Mental health is under care. Absolutely, under care. I think we have to look after each other, but don't take the whole family with you. Don't take your grandparents."
The clarification comes after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said people could only leave their homes for medical reasons, to buy goods and services or to exercise.
NSW quietly rolled out an emergency ministerial directive on Tuesday that stated maximum penalties of $11,000 and six months imprisonment could apply for those violating anti-mass gathering laws without a valid reason.
Previously, police had said they'd be issuing $1,000 on-the-spot fines to those breaking the social distancing laws.
The Public Health Order included 16 reasons people could leave their homes and said gatherings must be limited to two unless otherwise specified.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said of the Public Health Order: "if it can't be policed, it's not good legislation."
"The Health Minister can turn that off at any time or alter it by signing a document very, very quickly," he said.
"If I think it's unworkable, I would go to the Premier and say 'we need to make some sensible changes to not erode the message on public safety around isolation but to make it enforceable'.
Fuller said no tickets have been issued since the new legislation was passed banning gatherings of more than two on Monday.
However, he said police will come down hard on people who do not comply with mandatory self-isolation.
"We are getting fed up with people in self-isolation, with people who are leaving their home," Fuller said.
"Yesterday I used the word discretion 100 times... I said discretion is our most powerful power in fairness. It comes down to the individual officer and the individual discretion."
Berejiklian also hit out at critics who complained the police have been too strict in enforcing the new coronavirus health measures.
Our police are just trying to do their jobs... This is difficult for everybody
"The police are there to keep us safe. They don't mean to be overly-zealous. If unintentionally, there's too many people in a particular area, for most of us that doesn't matter but for some, it'll be lethal," she said.
"You shouldn't be stationary at a location. Walk through and exercise, that's why we said gatherings of more than two. It's a no regrets policy, we don't want to look back and say 'why didn't we do that earlier?'"
A small minority of people flouting health measures can lead to thousands of deaths, said NSW Health Executive Director of Health Protection Dr Jeremy McAnulty.
NSW Health confirmed 150 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the state's total to 2,182 cases and nine deaths.
Berejiklian said the state has now completed more than 100,000 tests for COVID-19. But with cases continuing to rise, and a new push to test more people, supplies of medical supplies are beginning to run low.
The Premier urged businesses to consider manufacturing the much-needed medical supplies.
"New South Wales relied on many different sources of equipment, including many sources overseas which no longer exist, or have been massively disrupted," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday.
"So today I'm calling on the great people of our state, those great business people, those manufacturers who are able to re-tool, to consider re-tooling, to help supply the additional things we need in coming months, whether it's sanitisers, medical equipment and a whole host of other things which our hospitals rely on," she said.
Manufacturers who are able are encouraged to 'repurpose' their machinery to help create things like masks, toilet paper and hand sanitiser -- something many local businesses have already begun to do.
The NSW Government is seeking:
- Hand sanitiser
- Examination gloves
- Disinfectant, cleaning products and wipes
- Handwash and soap
- Plastic eyewear and face shields
- Gowns and protective overalls
- Paper products, including toilet and tissue paper
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