Victoria is cracking down on repeat offenders who flout COVID-19 isolation rules with on-the-spot fines of almost $ 5000, while introducing a permit system for workers.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday announced more police, defence and health department personnel would be deployed to dish out the hefty fines for people not self-isolating.
As the government beefs up its rules around isolation, a Victoria Police officer had her head repeatedly bashed into concrete on Monday afternoon by a woman who refused to wear a mask.
The premier called the attack “fundamentally disgusting”, with the police officer suffering significant head injuries and taken to Frankston Hospital for treatment.
The 38-year-old woman was charged with multiple offences, including assaulting police and two counts of assaulting an emergency worker.
She was bailed due to no criminal history.
Under the increased isolation penalties, infected people caught breaching the rules for a second time will be slapped with a $ 4957 on-the-spot fine, which rises to $ 20,000 if the matter goes to court.
An additional 250 police, 500 ADF and 300 health staff will monitor compliance.
“That team is growing substantially and that means every single positive case will be door-knocked multiple times; random and repeated doorknocks,” Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Mr Andrews said a permit system would be rolled out for workers from Thursday to aid tightened restrictions on businesses.
Under the arrangement, Victorians will be stopped in the street by police and asked to produce a permit to establish their work credentials.
“You carry it with you and then you’re able to demonstrate so there’s not a sense of anxiety or a sense of having to tell your story 17 times,” Mr Andrews said.
Employees and employers must both sign the form and it can be applied for online from Tuesday, he said.
The permit will predominantly be for private-sector staff and won’t replace established identification for public workers such as police and nurses.
“I don’t think it’s too onerous,” Mr Andrews said.
“It’s a pretty simple process.”
Victoria recorded 439 new cases of coronavirus and 11 more deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state’s toll from COVID-19 to 147 and the national toll to 232.
All of the 11 deaths are linked to outbreaks in aged-care centres.
The rising death toll comes as Victoria settles into a new stage four lockdown in Melbourne.
New research has revealed the state’s earlier stage three restrictions in Melbourne potentially saved the lives of hundreds of people.
Research from the Burnet Institute, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Tuesday, found the state’s response to the second wave of COVID-19 averted 9000 to 37,000 cases between July 2 and 30.
Based on the World Health Organisation’s mortality rate of 3.4 per cent, the restrictions potentially saved 1258 lives.
Researchers said the reproduction rate of the virus before lockdown was 1.75.
Last week, Mr Andrews said that number was hovering about 1.0.
Under the latest restrictions, residents of metropolitan Melbourne must follow an 8pm-5am curfew and can’t travel more than 5km from home for shopping or exercise.
Regional Victoria is now moving to stage three restrictions, with restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms to shut from midnight on Wednesday.
Australian Associated Press