Coronavirus Victoria: Strict new lockdown rule and penalties announced

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has announced tough new penalties for those who breach the state’s Stage 4 lockdown measures and nightly curfew.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Andrews outlined a “new approach” to enforcing the lockdown as well as new penalties as more than 400 new cases were announced.

With police further cracking down on rule-breakers, those who breach health restrictions face a hefty new $4,957 individual fine and possible jail time.

“It is in fact the largest on-the-spot fine for an individual on the statue books of the state of Victoria,” he warned.

It will be primarily for people who are caught breaching their isolation order and leaving their home.

There will be more than 500 additional Australian Defence Force personnel coming to the state in the coming days “to make sure people are where they should be,” Mr Andrews said.

Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville (right) arrives to the press conference Tuesday. Source: AAP
Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville (right) arrives to the press conference Tuesday. Source: AAP

'Open a window': Those in isolation banned from exercise

The new fine comes after 3,000 doorknocks were conducted by police and health authorites, with more than 800 of those people, who were supposed to be isolating, unable to be found at their home.

Mr Andrews said it was “unacceptable”, telling those in isolation they will no longer be allowed out to exercise.

“Fresh air in the front yard or the backyard, or open a window – that’s what you’ll have to do.”

A considerable amount of people continue to flout the rules, forcing the harsher laws to be introduced.

Victoria Police issued 161 fines to the community yesterday for breaching the Health Act, with 60 of those for failing to wear a face covering when leaving home.

“We don't want to see that figure grow but, unfortunately, given we continue to see this minority of people out there breaching the rules, unfortunately that's likely to grow and Victoria Police will not hesitate to infringe people and do what they need to do to keep our community safe,” Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville said.

“Victoria Police members are members of our community, so they know this is really, really tough for everyone.

“It's tough for them as well as members of our community, but they also know that this is absolutely critical that they enforce these rules and they will do so.”

Premier slams ‘shameful’ act by anti-masker

A Victoria Police officer had her head repeatedly bashed into concrete by a woman who refused to wear a mask in line with coronavirus rules, in an incident slammed by the Premier as a “shameful” act.

The 26-year-old officer and her partner approached a woman in Frankston who was not wearing a mask and the confrontation turned violent, Chief Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters this morning.

"They approached a 38-year-old woman, who wasn't wearing a mask. After a confrontation and being assaulted by that woman, those police officers went to ground and there was a scuffle," he said.

"During that scuffle, this 38-year-old woman smashed the head of the policewoman several times into a concrete area on the ground.

"That's someone who thinks they're above the law.

"They're not wearing a mask, they're approached and asked the reason why not and then to react like that is just completely over the top."

Police taking aim at ‘sovereign citizen’ groups

Commissioner Patton said Victorian police were dealing with a frustrating minority who are doing the wrong thing and disregarding the consequences.

“In the last week we’ve seen a trend, an emergence if you like, of group of people ... who classify themselves as as sovereign citizens - whatever that might mean - people who don't think the law applies to them,” he said.

Authorities have been forced into violent and forceful measures after being baited by such people.

“We've seen them at checkpoints baiting police, not providing a name and address. On at least four occasions in the last week, we've had to smash the windows of cars and pull people out to provide details,” he said.

“We don't want to be doing that, but people have to absolutely understand there are consequences for your actions and if you're not doing the right thing, we will not hesitate to issue infringements, to arrest you, to detain you where it's appropriate.”

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