A state of emergency begins at midday on Monday in Victoria and will run for four weeks.
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday that authorised officers can now grant powers to detail people, restrict movement and prevent entry to premises in order to “protect public health”.
“Make no mistake, the next few weeks and months will be tough for everyone, but we’re doing what is necessary to protect Victorians,” Premier Andrews said.
Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the coronavirus outbreak is the “biggest public health challenge” faced in our lifetimes. “That’s why it’s so important that we have the right tools at our disposal to minimise the impact of this virus,” she said.
A 14-day isolation is required for all travellers coming into Australia and mass gatherings of more than 500 people had already been banned by the Australian federal government. Victorians who do not comply with requests to isolate face fines of up to $20,000, whereas body corporates that don’t comply may face $100,000 fines.
In Melbourne, areas such as Federation Square and Bourke Street Mall will continue to operate, however entire suburbs, businesses and professions may be quarantined if this is deemed necessary.
The National Gallery of Victoria, the State Library and Museums Victoria have announced temporary closures, and a number of important events have been postponed, including the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Melbourne Fashion Week and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
For more details, visit the Victoria State Government’s site Health and Human Services.