Hundreds report NSW isolation disobedience

Tiffanie Turnbull
NSW Police have been given the power to fine people and businesses that breach public health orders

Hundreds of concerned people have been dobbing in their neighbours for flouting coronavirus restrictions, with NSW Police receiving about 600 calls in just two days.

Police from Thursday were given the power to hand out on-the-spot fines of $1000 to individuals and $5000 to businesses that breach public health orders or ministerial directions.

"I gave a clear warning that the time for cautioning people over not adhering to self-isolation was over," NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Among those who have been fined already are staff from a Sydney massage parlour, and a 65-year-old woman from Lake Macquarie.

"What's disappointing is this lady had a caution on Monday to self-isolate, yesterday she was found walking around the streets - $1000 fine," Mr Fuller said.

Police on Friday fined a man $1000 for failing to follow self-isolation directions.

The 64-year-old man arrived at Sydney International Airport from Thailand on Monday, NSW Police said in a statement on Friday.

He was told he was subject to a public health order and was required to quarantine for 14 days.

Officers received information the man planned to breach the order, and attended a home in North Bourke, in the state's northwest, about 1.25pm on Friday.

They advised the man to not leave the property.

About 3.55pm police received information the man had left his home to visit the Bourke CBD.

The man was found in Bourke and advised to return home immediately as he was breaching the order.

About 4.50pm officers returned to the man's home and issued him with a $1000 infringement notice.

Mr Fuller said before the new powers were introduced, Crime Stoppers had received 200 calls about people ignoring restrictions.

"Since then, that has gone up to 800, (with) 600 calls in two days," Mr Fuller said.

People in the firing line include returned travellers who contravened the requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days and those diagnosed with COVID-19 who similarly don't follow the rules.

Fines will also apply for breaches of the prohibition on outdoor gatherings of 500 people and indoor gatherings of 100.

It follows the passing of legislation in the NSW parliament on Tuesday to help tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Under the bill, police will be able to arrest people reasonably suspected of breaching COVID-19 public health orders and return them home or to a place of detention.