Coronavirus cops

Victoria Police have established a new coronavirus enforcement squad of 500 officers.

500 police will be patrolling communities across Victoria and conducting spot checks on returned travellers to ensure coronavirus lockdown measures and isolation protocols are followed.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday 23 March that Victoria Police have established a new coronavirus enforcement squad to ensure people are complying with containment measures.

The decision comes after National Cabinet declared to implement the first stage of a shutdown of non-essential activity across the country from 12pm on Monday 23 March.

Businesses including pubs, clubs, nightclubs, Crown Casino, gyms, indoor sporting venues, places of worship, cinemas and entertainment venues are set to close in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Restaurants and cafes are also impacted, only allowed to provide home delivery and take away services.

In a statement, Premier Daniel Andrews said that this decision and other containment measures are meaningless if Victorians don’t take them seriously or don’t think they will be caught if they flout the rules.

“Such thinking is wrong and the new coronavirus enforcement squad at Victoria Police will take action against anyone caught doing the wrong thing,” he said.

The officers will conduct spot checks on returned travellers who are in 14-day isolation and enforce bans on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

“I also call on every Victorian to undertake their civic duty and practice social distancing: don’t be closer than 1.5 metres from another person, wash your hands and practice good hand hygiene,” Mr Andrews said.

“Do that for yourself, your loved ones and for the loved ones of people you have never met. It will save lives.