Hundreds Of Police Will Patrol Victoria To Ensure People Adhere To Coronavirus Rules
Victoria has enlisted the help of hundreds of police officers to ensure citizens are adhering to coronavirus rules.
Social distancing and self-isolation have been touted as the best ways to avoid contracting Covid-19, as well as practicing good hygiene.
But Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says more than 500 cops will enforce these measures to stem the spread of the potentially deadly virus.
These officers have been given special powers to detain those who aren't self-isolating, break up unlawful gatherings and do spot-checks on those who should be quarantining.
Indoor public gatherings are limit to one person every four square metres and a maximum of 100 people, while outdoor public gatherings are limited to 499 or less people.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said the new batch of officers is necessary to ensure everyone is doing the right thing.
"A lot of people are doing the right thing, but some have not been doing the right thing," she said.
"What we saw over the weekend was quite a number of breaches in relation to the rules around indoor gatherings. That has meant as a result we are upping the ante in terms of the police engagement on this.
"Victoria Police do not want to be out there, having to knock on people's doors. Unfortunately they have had to be and will need to be over the coming weeks.
We don't get a second chance to get this right.- Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) March 23, 2020
And the cost of inaction will be measured in Victorian lives.
From midday today, Stage One of our response to coronavirus means that non-essential activities will be shut down.
"Be in no doubt, police have the powers, if they so believe, to find you, arrest you, detain you. They will use those powers where needed in the interest of community safety."
Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton added: "We have had instances in the spot checks where people haven't been at home when they should have been at home and people that have freely said, 'we were at home for some of the time, other times we were out shopping, out doing things'.
"Clearly the message hasn't been getting through to the degree we need to see to make sure we can deal with this health emergency in the proper way."
Earlier this month, Victoria introduced a state of emergency, which green lit 'public health risk and emergency powers' under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
The state has closed all schools and has shut down non-essential services like pubs, gyms, cinemas and places of worship.
While people can't congregate together in large, public indoor or outdoor groups, Premier Andrews has also warned against people having private parties.
He said: "Pubs and bars are closed for a reason. It doesn't mean you can have all your mates round and get on the beers. If you can stay home - you should stay home.
"It only takes a single person at a party to make hundreds of people sick - if not thousands.
"This is bigger than any one of us. But it will only work if all of us play our part."
Featured Image Credit: Victoria Police