Coronavirus fears prompt new fines in Australia.

Date Added: April 27, 2020 09:14:37 AM
Author: Sutra Web Directory
Category: Regional: Australia

People who deliberately spit, sneeze or cough on frontline workers will be fined up to $13,000, the Queensland Government has announced.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said fines of up to $1,300 could be issued on the spot, while matters that go to court could lead to a $13,000 fine.

Ms Palaszczuk said introducing the new public health emergency order was "absolutely the right thing to do".

She said it would help protect healthcare, retail, food delivery, transport, council and airport workers; health department, police, fire and ambulance officers; taxi, bus and rideshare drivers and teachers.

Ms Palaszczuk said it was "disgusting" some people had been taking their frustrations out on essential workers.

"It's absolutely disgusting to think that some people are putting other peoples' lives at risk," she said.

Health Minister Steven Miles said the fines were a new public health emergency order "to support our frontline workers".

"They should certainly never be threatened with being deliberately infected with COVID-19," he said.

"During a pandemic, a cough can be used as a weapon. A sneeze can be as dangerous as a knife. Spitting is of course always disgusting.

"And this new order will allow us to protect all of our essential workers from deliberate coughing, sneezing, and spitting."

Mr Miles said there had been cases of hospital staff, paramedics, retail staff and nurses being threatened with being coughed upon.

"We are all reliant now on those retail workers to supply us with the goods that we need," he said.

"I want to send a strong signal to the community that those workers should never feel threatened, and I want to send a signal to those workers that we support them, that we care about them."


Mr Miles said there had been cases of hospital staff, paramedics, retail staff and nurses being threatened with being coughed upon.
"We are all reliant now on those retail workers to supply us with the goods that we need," he said.

"I want to send a strong signal to the community that those workers should never feel threatened, and I want to send a signal to those workers that we support them, that we care about them."

'We will not hesitate to clamp down again'

Mr Miles said overnight the state had recorded three additional cases of COVID-19.

He said while the result was "very good", it was a reflection of measures put in place two weeks ago.

To date, Queensland has 101 active COVID-19 cases. Fifteen cases are in hospital and six people in intensive care are being ventilated.

Yesterday, the State Government announced from Saturday some restrictions would be lifted, allowing members of the same household to have a picnic, visit national parks and shop for non-essential items.

"We need to see how these easing of restrictions at the weekend [goes] for two weeks, before we will get a sense of whether people are complying with the rules, whether that increased mobility leads to an increased infection rate," Mr Miles said.

More Gold Coast beaches open

Beaches at The Spit will reopen at midnight Monday while beachfront carparks along the Gold Coast will reopen from this afternoon.

The Spit, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta were closed before Easter when large crowds were observed flouting social distancing rules.

Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta were reopened last week.

But Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said it was not a green light for people outside the city to start heading to the beach.

"This move primarily is really for locals to be able to come back to the beaches on the Gold Coast," he said.

Ms Palaszczuk said people should not get complacent.

"If we take these measures and see spikes, we will not hesitate to clamp down again," she said.

She said schools would remain closed for the time being, but the State Government would reconsider their position on May 15.

Ms Palaszczuk also said she "fully" supported the COVIDSafe app — launched by the Federal Government yesterday — and had signed up this morning.

"It takes about two minutes but it's really important if we want to see our life return to some form of normality," she said.

"It's voluntary, but I would urge Queenslanders to sign up to that app."
 
~ Via ABC News