News National Victorians love a coronavirus tattle, but it hasn’t helped as lockdowns begin
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Victorians love a coronavirus tattle, but it hasn’t helped as lockdowns begin

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Tens of thousands of Victorians have been dobbing in their neighbours, friends or bosses for breaching coronavirus rules, new data reveals.

It comes as police and prison security guards begin monitoring quarantined travellers as well as residents in 10 suburban coronavirus hotspots.

More than 30,000 Melburnians are waking up on Thursday to the first day of a second round of lockdown, and the premier has warned more areas could be shut if virus cases keep spiking.

Victoria remains by far the state most vulnerable to a second wave, with latest figures showing more than 350 of the 400 nationwide active coronavirus cases are in Victoria.

But the rest of Australia has been warned: fresh outbreaks could happen anywhere.

Concerns people from hotspots could have attempted to travel before the midnight lockdown began prompted the NSW government to announce that Victorians from the 10 hotspots could face six months in jail or fines of up to $11,000 if they try to cross the border.

Meanwhile, Queensland is banning all Victorians from entering the state but welcoming other visitors from July 10.

South Australia has shelved plans to reopen its Victorian border but is weighing up a travel deal with NSW and the ACT.

Victoria Police set up booze-bus style checkpoints

The latest figures show Victoria’s Police Assistance Line has received more than 78,000 calls from Victorians reporting social distancing breaches throughout the pandemic.

Most calls related to people illegally hosting get-togethers or ignoring self-isolation orders.

Police are preparing for a spike in reports of breaches in the newly locked-down suburbs, where officers will set up booze-bus style checkpoints to monitor the movements of residents.

Much like earlier stage three restrictions, residents of the 10 postcodes will only be able to leave their homes to shop for food and supplies, to receive or provide care, to exercise, and to study or work (if they can’t do so from home).

In March, the Police Assistance Line received about 10,650 coronavirus-related calls from members of the public.

The number of calls dramatically spiked to about 37,740 in April.

This leap was mainly due to Victorians reporting those who ignored stay-at-home directions during the Easter long weekend, a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

But it’s not just neighbours or friends who Victorians have been dobbing in. In some cases, it’s their boss.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors have visited at least 2085 workplaces to ensure employers are enforcing social distancing, screening, hygiene and cleaning practices during the crisis.

As of June 24, the authority had dished out 50 compliance notices to employers failing to follow coronavirus health advice.

The authority has also accepted 15 claims from workers who have contracted COVID-19, and 32 claims based on other coronavirus-related impacts, like harm to mental health.

“Victorian employers must take every reasonable step to protect workers from risks to both their physical and mental health. This includes managing risks associated with coronavirus (COVID-19),” a WorkSafe spokesman said.

“WorkSafe can take action against workplaces who do not adequately control these risks.”

Workers who have concerns about workplace health or safety should speak with their health and safety representative or can call WorkSafe’s advisory line on 1800 136 089.

To report a neighbour for breaching coronavirus rules, call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 or submit an online report at www.police.vic.gov.au/palolr.