A group of Melbourne police officers is in self-isolation after arresting a coronavirus-infected teenager allegedly on a wild crime spree through the city’s southeast.
Victoria Police confirmed the boy had tested positive for coronavirus prompting an undisclosed number of their officers into quarantine.
He was one of two boys arrested at a Berwick shopping centre after they broke into a home, threatened a family with a knife, stole their car and crashed it into an unmarked police car on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, about 500 coronavirus-infected people not at home when authorities came knocking have been referred to Victoria Police.
Victoria has had to ramp up its isolation check-ins by police, defence and health personnel on positive cases after people were repeatedly found not obeying isolation orders.
The doorknocking teams of ADF and health department staff have done 5000 visits since the program started on July 22. Thursday was the biggest single-day of checks, with 1150 homes visited.
“A thousand of those 1150 people could be found where they were supposed to,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Friday.
“The 150 who could not, they have been referred to Victoria Police and I can confirm that there are around 500 people who were not where they should be – this is cumulatively – and they’ve all been sent to Victoria Police.”
Mr Andrews said police would now determine if those people were doing the wrong thing.
On Tuesday, the state government announced a new offence with a $4957 fine for those who fail to self-isolate after testing positive to coronavirus or being identified as a close contact.
The fine can be issued to someone found to breach the requirement to be self-isolating for a second or subsequent time. It is the highest on-the-spot infringement Victoria Police can issue.
Police dished out 196 fines in the 24 hours to Friday morning for public health coronavirus order breaches.
Among them was a man claiming he was out feeding his uncle’s horses at 3.40am and a man and woman who went to pick up a pizza because the store wouldn’t deliver outside curfew hours.
Two homes were also searched by officers who seized mobile phones and a computer over a planned anti-lockdown protest in the CBD on Sunday.
Two 41-year-old men were arrested on Thursday night over the rally. A Mooroolbark man was charged with incitement – encouraging another person to commit a crime – and was bailed to face court in January.
A Chirnside Park man was released but is expected to be charged with the same offence on Friday.
Police have labelled Sunday’s planned protest a “blatant breach” of coronavirus restrictions and say they won’t hesitate to hand out $1652 fines or arrest attendees.
Officers checked up on more than 17,600 people at vehicle checkpoints in the 24 hours to Friday morning and did spot checks at more than 4400 homes, businesses and public spaces.
They issued 51 fines for people not wearing face coverings when leaving home for approved reasons, and 43 for curfew breaches.
IN other COVID developments, limits on the number of Australians able to return home from overseas will be maintained until October as the coronavirus pandemic continues as leaders agree to uphold the current limits so ensure the hotel quarantine system is sustainable.
In Adelaide, authorities have moved to a put a “double ring” around a worrying cluster of coronavirus cases. Five cases linked to the cluster have prompted the closure of the Thebarton Senior College, forcing 94 close contacts into supervised hotel quarantine and more than 1100 others into home isolation.
South Australia’s anxiety is, however, small potatoes in comparison with the job ahead of Victoria, where the state’s federal MPs have been informed they will have to endure two weeks of quarantine before being allowed back into parliament.
And politcians aren’t the only ones whose horizons are being narrowed by the coronavirus — rising Australian boxer Jai Opetaia’s world title ambitions has been dealt a heavy blow.
The Gosford cruiserweight was just months ago in the frame to take on global superstar Tyson Fury, with plans being hatched for a bout at Bankwest Stadium in 2021.
Then the coronavirus pandemic brought the world, and Opetaia’s plans, to a halt.
“It seemed like just when it was about to start getting more important for us that’s when it all just sort of cut out,” Opetaia told AAP.
“If I focus on the negative too much it’ll just keep eating me up.
“So we’re just focused on the positive, when we just work out our next move forward instead of what could’ve happened.”
Ranked inside the top 10 for his division in four of the world’s biggest boxing organisations, Opetaia’s options at the moment remain limited.
The 25-year-old, with a 19-0 professional record, has relocated to the Gold Coast for the remainder of 2020 and is hoping for a world title shot when the COVID plague has run its deeadly course.
‘The main sort of cruiserweights and stuff are all over Europe, the world-ranked ones, and just to get over to Europe or get someone over here is just a big headache at the moment.
“Every fight I have to treat like a world title fight … if I can’t beat this guy then it’ll sort of put me back so much more so, I’m focused, I’m ready.”
— with wires