Australian State May Deploy Military and Charge Fines to Enforce Isolation

Australian State May Deploy Military and Charge Fines to Enforce Isolation
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Sydney: Australia’s second-most populous state Victoria said on Tuesday (Aug 4) military personnel will be deployed to enforce Covid-19 isolation orders, with anyone caught in breach of those rules facing tough new fines. 

Victoria earlier this week imposed a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people’s daily movements and ordered large parts of the local economy to close to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

But nearly a third of those who had contracted Covid-19 were not self-isolating at home when checked on by officials, requiring tough new penalties, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said. 

Mr. Andrews said 500 military personnel will this week deploy to Victoria to bolster enforcement of self-isolation orders, with fines of nearly A$5,000 (S$4,900) for breaching stay-at-home orders. The only exemption will be for urgent medical care. 

“There is literally no reason for you to leave your home and if you were to leave your home and not be found there, you will have a very difficult time convincing Victoria police that you have a lawful reason,” Mr. Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. 

Victoria on Tuesday reported 439 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours. Mr. Andrews said 11 people had died from the virus since Monday. In total, Australia has recorded nearly 19,000 Covid-19 cases and 232 fatalities, far fewer than many other developed nations.

Having already imposed the strictest restrictions on movement, Victoria declared a ‘state of disaster’. 

Australia has fared better than many countries, with 18,361 coronavirus cases and 221 deaths from a population of 25 million, but the surge in community transmissions in Victoria raised fears that the infection rate could blow out of control.