Victorians In Quarantine Can Expect A Visit From Police
Victoria Police has promised to ramp up measures to enforce self-isolation requirements in the state after spot checks found people were not following the rules.
Announcing the launch of 'Operation Sentinal', Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said officers had found some people who were required to self-isolate had admitted they were not staying at home and quarantining.
"They've been visiting the movies, going out for breakfast or other meals," Nugent told reporters.
"People who ignore these restrictions are placing others at significant risk of catching the virus and people will become infected, this includes their own family, friends and others in the community."
This is actually quite selfish.
He said while some people were "ignorant" about the restrictions and apologetic after being told they cannot leave their home even for a meal or shopping -- police were "disappointed" they had to resort to these new measures.
At least 500 police officers will be involved in the new operation in coming days, with some coming from units which have seen less work than usual -- such as events and transport.
Nugent said the teams would be focusing on community compliance to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the state, where the number of cases has passed 400.
Police will also be using technology to carry out the spot checks where possible, including Facetime.
"Police members can get in contact with people who are required to self-isolate, they can prove that they at home," Nugent said.
He said using video technology would also allow police to carry out more checks than if they were just attending peoples' homes in person.
Mobile patrol units will also be used to ensure people are complying with mass gathering requirements.
"We expect most people will be complying which will allow us the opportunity to check in on their health and wellbeing and see whether or not they require medical attention or other support services," Nugent said.
He also warned of heavy penalties for people who do not comply with requirements, including fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for a company, adding that police had already received a number of calls from people who were reporting others for breaking quarantine.
"Where people are blatantly disregarding the restrictions or breaking the requirements on multiple occasions, Victoria Police will take action," Nugent said.
"They can be arrested, they can be charged and they can be fined.
“We know this is a challenging time for everyone and we’ll be asking our officers to use a commonsense approach when dealing with these matters.”
It comes a day after Premier Daniel Andrews slammed members of the community for "acting selfishly" during the outbreak.
"They are not taking this seriously. They are doing the wrong thing and if that continues, then people will die," he said.
"It is easy to do the right thing for your family and for people that you have never met. I just want to make this point, whether you call it mateship, whether you call it being Australian, being Victorian, whether you call it decent behaviour, civic duty, I don't care what you call it, just do it.
"You need to keep your distance. You need to observe the rules, and that is not an option."
Victoria Police said so far no one had been charged with refusing or failing to comply with the direction.