By JAMES HARRISON
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced on Tuesday 2 April that the state’s tough coronavirus laws will probably end in 90 days, with no current plan to extend them. The announcement came alongside NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian praising the people of NSW for helping flatten the COVID-19 curve and reducing the rate of cases.
As of 3 April, NSW has 2,389 confirmed cases, with 91 new cases in the past 24 hours. The state’s death toll has reached 11 (of a national total of 26) and over 108,000 people have been tested.
“When is the turn-off period for these health orders? It is 90 days. I certainly won’t be seeking an extension, people will have gotten the message by then, hopefully,” said Commissioner Fuller in a press conference on Tuesday.
Coronavirus enforcement laws
On Tuesday Fuller also warned that police officers will no longer be issuing cautions for those disregarding the self-isolation laws and will now be handing out on-the-spot fines of $1000. The self-isolation laws mean that those leaving their home without a valid reason, such as work, study, buying food or essentials, exercise or seeking medical care, can receive a fine of up to $11,000 and 6-months imprisonment for repeat offenders.
Recent instances of people being fined include a 59-year-old man for drinking in a park with three others and refusing to leave when asked by police and a 39-year-old man for washing windscreens at traffic lights.
“These laws aren’t forever, they’ll be turned off when we beat this… we’ll be happy in a few months’ time for de-escalation and you can quote me on that,” said Fuller.
Berejiklian also praised the effectiveness of the laws on Tuesday saying, “The acceleration of cases in NSW isn’t growing, which is a good thing. So, we know that we’re having some level of success in reducing the spread, but we have to maintain our vigilance.”
Further Social Distancing
NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced on Tuesday plans to make social distancing easier for construction.
“We’re now allowing construction sites to operate on weekends and public holidays in the same way as they can operate during the work week. This will help keep our workforce safe by extending the hours over which the sites can operate meaning that social distancing by these workers will be easier to achieve,” said Stokes.
Stokes announced this change alongside greater kitchen availability hours for food delivery services for the elderly and those that cannot cook for themselves.
Commissioner Fuller announced a team of infection specialists would be utilised by the Australian Border Force to board eight cruise ships off the NSW coast. This involves experts providing independent health assessments of 8,500 crew members on the ship.
“If the crew are fit and healthy then I have no hesitation asking Mr Dutton and Border Force to enforce the order to leave our waters,” said Fuller.