Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley has blasted an anti-vaccination protester for threatening healthcare workers at a Melbourne hub administering the jab.
Mr Foley said police were called to the incident at the vaccination centre in Melbourne’s outer south-east on Friday morning.
He warned “these anti-science, anti-evidence, dangerous fanatics” would be held to account for their inappropriate behaviour.
“You aren’t allowed to come in and abuse our nurses and our healthcare professionals,” Mr Foley said on Friday.
“If you want to have your tin-pot theories, fine. But keep them to yourself and keep them out of our healthcare services.”
Mr Foley noted there had been increased reports of verbal abuse, racist remarks and spitting on healthcare and call centre staff amid heightened confusion surrounding the vaccine rollout this week.
“No matter what the situation is. No matter how frustrated and stressed you are. No matter what whacky theories you might think are real – you are not entitled to abuse our healthcare staff,” he said.
It has prompted the government to hire more security staff for the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre mass vaccination hub, and erect banners at sites warning aggression will lead to ejection.
“This is about making sure that our state vaccination centres are places where people want to do the right thing and get us a ticket out the pandemic are safe,” Mr Foley said.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton is adamant the vast majority of Australians don’t listen to anti-vaccination misinformation and still intend to get the jab.
“Anti-vaxxers will remain on the margins,” he said.
Almost 19,500 vaccine doses were administered at Victorian-run sites in the 24-hours to midnight on Thursday.
Victoria had its second day in a row day without a local COVID-19 case, following more than 24,700 tests, and also reported three cases in hotel quarantine.
The encouraging figures come as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a decision to halve international arrivals after Friday’s national cabinet meeting.
The number of people allowed to enter the country each week will fall from 6070 to 3035 after Victorian, Queensland and Western Australian premiers sounded the alarm over the more infectious Delta variant.
Mr Andrews had earlier announced Victoria’s four-point plan to keep Australia safe and avoid future lockdowns, recommending at least a 50 per cent reduction in Australian returned travellers.
The nationally agreed policy change means Victoria’s weekly intake will drop from 1000 to 500 – a third of NSW’s cap.
Across the Murray River, Victorians have been caught out by NSW local government areas within the cross-border community becoming orange zones from 6am on Friday.
Professor Sutton said the change to the state’s permit system was made “out of an abundance of caution”.
It does not restrict free movement in the border bubble for residents, as long as they have not travelled north into orange or red zones and carry photo ID.
But non-border Victorians venturing into the bubble for school holidays must now get a test and isolate upon their return until they receive a negative result.
Some cut their holidays short to beat the deadline including Frank and his family who were staying at a Moama caravan park.
“At five o’clock this morning we were in the car driving across the border,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Friday.
Another group of golfers in the NSW border town of Tocumwal said they had successfully applied for orange zone permits ahead of travelling back into Victoria later on Friday.
Hundreds of police are continuing to monitor the Victorian-NSW border, stopping 2100 people in vehicles and on public transport on Thursday.