Australia

‘SELFISH BEHAVIOUR’: Elaborate plan to avoid virus arrests revealed

Rohan Smith
Rohan Smith

Photographers have been out capturing scenes of an empty Melbourne CBD, and the images really do speak for themselves.

Picture: Andrew Henshaw

Picture: Sarah Matray

Picture: Andrew Henshaw

See more here.

Rohan Smith

Victoria Police has issued a statement in the last 30 minutes about a planned protest in the Melbourne CBD on Sunday.

Information about the protest, labelled a "freedom day celebration" by organisers who claim the coronavirus is a "biochemical arm of a military coup", is being circulated on social media.

It invited attendees to tell police "I have the right to demonstrate" and "if you arrest me that will give me the right to place you in the witness box at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court".

In a statement, Victoria Police labelled protesters "selfish" and declared the planned protest "a completely blatant breach" of the CHO's directions that "puts Victorian lives at risk".

"This selfish behaviour will absolutely not be tolerated. Be assured Victoria Police will be responding and will take appropriate action.

There will be a highly visible presence in and around the city to ensure the community is complying with Stage Four restrictions.

We will have no hesitation in issuing $1,652 fines or making arrests on the day, if necessary.

Police are also making enquiries into the organisers of this event and we will be holding them to account."

Rohan Smith

In news just in, the Victorian State Coroner, Judge John Cain, has commenced an investigation into the deaths of five residents at St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner.

St Basil's is at the centre of an aged care cluster that has led to dozens of deaths.

The entire staff at the facility had to be evacuated last month when staff members and clients became infected with the virus.

I previously wrote about one woman who went 58 hours with no word on the condition of her father before she was told he had died in a "heartless phone call".

In a press release sent out this afternoon, the court said Victoria Police had been directed to compile a brief of evidence and the focus of the investigation will be determined after the brief is received.

Rohan Smith

Ben Graham

Footage of police arresting a woman in Hoppers Crossing for alleged breaches of the Chief Health Officer's lockdown restrictions has been circulated by one of her friends.

The footage shows the woman screaming as the officers hold her face down on the footpath and handcuff her arms behind her back. Her daughter can be heard shouting “she’s in pain”.

In the video the woman’s daughter can be heard being questioned by officers. A female officer is then heard asking for her to show her ID.

“You need to take this seriously,” the officer says. “You won’t be arrested if I can confirm your ID.”

The daughter argues that she is not doing anything wrong. She says she’s just going for a walk.

Read more here.

Rohan Smith

For what it's worth, and I'd suggest it's worth a fair bit, I spoke with an epidemiologist this morning who believes Victorian cases are about to turn in the right direction.

"The number of new cases has been going up over the last four weeks, but the rate of transmission is slowing," University of South Australia epidemiologist Professor Adrian Esterman said.

"That is why I expect a drop off to occur in the next few days."

Rohan Smith

For what it's worth, and I'd suggest it's worth a fair bit, I spoke with an epidemiologist this morning who believes Victorian cases are about to turn in the right direction.

"The number of new cases has been going up over the last four weeks, but the rate of transmission is slowing," University of South Australia epidemiologist Professor Adrian Esterman said.

"That is why I expect a drop off to occur in the next few days."

Rohan Smith

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has offered his support to Victorians doing it tough, especially those struggling with their mental health.

"It is a difficult time but there is a light, there is pathway," he told reporters this afternoon.

"These measures of containment and capacity will help us get through but it is our amazing mental health workers, our psychiatrists, our psychologists, our counsellors, our carers and volunteers that I particularly want to acknowledge today."

Mr Hunt was providing more information on the 12 million package for outreach services announced by the Prime Minister earlier this week.

Beyond Blue gets $2.5 million, Lifeline gets $2.5 million and Kids Helpline gets $2 million.

Mr Hunt says those services are experiencing a "significant increase" in calls for help from Victorians during the lockdown.

Rohan Smith

A Victorian man with a snack craving took himself to a convenience store at 2.30am this morning while the state was under curfew.

He was fined for the breach, along with almost 200 other Victorians yesterday who broke the CHO's rules.

Among them was a man walking in Bayswater North without a mask and beyond the 5km zone Victorians are locked down in.

Other fines were issued to three men and one woman who were eating McDonalds on a footpath after curfew.

There were 176 fines issued on Wednesday and overnight. Of those, 51 were given to individuals who did not wear a face covering and 55 were for breaches of curfew.

Frank Chung

Victoria Police have issued a statement about the video from earlier of the anti-masker arrested after calling officers "communist" and "evil".

The incident occurred at about 2pm yesterday at Cranbourne Station after Protective Service Officers approached a man who "refused to wear a face covering".

"When the officers spoke with him, the 37-year-old Cranbourne man failed to provide his identity and was arrested, before he complied and was released shortly afterwards," police said.

"He was issued a $1652 penalty notice for breaching the stay at home directions and a $200 fine for failing to wear a face covering."

Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, PSOs have been empowered to operate outside of transport hubs and can make arrests or intervene with breaches of the peace while patrolling the streets while enforcing the chief health officer's directions.

"As part of Operation Shielding, PSOs and police are deployed in teams to patrol community and retail areas, as well as maintaining a presence on the public transport network," police said.

"The highly visible teams of PSOs and police will ensure essential workers and the community can feel safe when they are going to and from work, buying essential supplies or attending health clinics."

PSOs will also "assist in preventing opportunistic crimes on businesses that are doing the right thing and have closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus", police added.

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