Victoria Announces 500 Police Officers To Work On Task Force For Coronavirus
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has declared the launch of a 500-officer police task force to ensure residents are social distancing and isolating where necessary.
This is just step one of what could become a comprehensive plan to combat Covid 19, according to Andrews, who addressed media on Monday morning.
Officers within the taskforce will be out in the community doing spot checks on returning travellers who are in 14-day isolation, as well as enforcing the bans on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
"These bans, this shutdown, includes pubs, clubs, nightclubs, Crown Casino, licensed venues in hotels and pubs beyond that, gyms, indoor sporting venues, places of worship, cinemas, entertainment venues," Andrews told the media today.
He explained these restrictions will come into force from midday and will remain in force until midnight April 13. However, "it is highly likely, that they will be further extended beyond that."
Schools will also be closed from Tuesday, meaning holidays have been brought forward.
Term two is due to begin on April 14, but it's unclear whether the term will go ahead as planned.
The Victorian government has walked back comments made at the press conference on Monday morning, where Andrews said weddings and funerals will be banned,
They can go ahead, provided social distancing measures are followed.
Andrews urged Victorians to do the right thing, or "people will die".
"Many Victorians are doing the right thing," he said.
"They are keeping their distance, they are observing the rules that have been written, but there are many Victorians who are acting selfishly. They are not taking this seriously," Andrews said.
He mentioned a case where a group of friends threw a dinner party. One attendee unknowingly had Covid 19 which was transferred to 10 people in attendance.
Meanwhile, Victoria Police will dedicate 500 officers to a special coronavirus taskforce which will crackdown on people who are not obeying the strict rules.
Andrews said it is "disappointing that it has come to this", but after seeing images of thousands of people on Bondi Beach he acknowledged we could see the same thing in bars and cafes in Melbourne.
"It is unacceptable. It will cost lives. So no matter what you call it, no matter what motivates you, do the right thing for everybody. That's what's at stake here," he urged.
"If we have a situation where this virus fundamentally gets away from us, we will have thousands of people who will only survive if they can breathe with the assistance of a machine and we will not have enough machines, nurses and doctors to provide that care.
"I'm not sure whether I could make it any clearer than that."