Police in Melbourne, Australia, are warning the public of a “dangerous” increase in the number of people resisting lockdown measures linked to COVID-19, sometimes violently.
In one case, a 26-year-old policewoman repeatedly had her head crushed on a concrete sidewalk during a confrontation with a 38-year-old woman who refused to wear a mask, Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said to journalists.
AUSTRALIA DECLARES “STATE OF DISASTER” IN VICTORIA AS CORONAVIRUS SPIKE CONTINUES
A face mask warrant and stay-at-home order went into effect in Australia’s second-largest city at the end of July.
As part of the “Fourth Stage” lockdown, 4.9 million and more people can leave their homes to shop, provide essential medical care and do frontline work. They can also exercise within 3 miles of their home, but no more than an hour at a time.
The state of Victoria – of which Melbourne is the capital – has recorded more than half of the Commonwealth’s more than 18,700 cases. According to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center, there have been more than 230 deaths across Australia.
On Sunday, the government declared a “state of disaster” in the metropolis, forcing non-essential businesses to close for six weeks.
Violent behavior “is just totally unacceptable,” Patton said, referring to the officer who was assaulted. “He’s someone who thinks he’s above the law. They don’t wear a mask. They are approached and asked why they are not and then reacting like that is completely overkill. ”
As coronavirus-hit Melbourne police increased fines to A $ 20,000 for breaches of order, Patton said residents who claimed to be ‘above the law’ were nonetheless in “harassing” his officers.
“At least four times in the past week we have had to smash car windows and bring people out to provide details,” he noted.
Random checks carried out by Victoria Police on 3,000 of those infected with the deadly COVID-19 virus revealed that more than 800 were not following isolation protocols.
Fines for repeated lockdown violations have risen from around A $ 1,200 to nearly A $ 3,600.
Authorities report that recent order violations included “Airbnb parties” and people breaking a mandatory curfew to obtain alcohol and fast food.
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Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said “most Victorians” were doing the right thing.
“But we have this continuing minority of people who knowingly – not by mistake, but knowingly – are doing the wrong thing and putting people’s lives at risk,” Andrews noted.