Melbourne is in the grip of a coronavirus crisis. And yet more than 25% of people who are positive and should be at home self-isolating cannot be found at home.
So where were they? Exercising? Seeking medical attention? Out shopping? Visiting friends?
That’s what Victorian authorities will be trying to find out over the next few days after it came to light that more than one in four people couldn’t be found when ADF and health personnel went doorknocking on Thursday.
Teams of doorknockers visited around 500 homes
The worrying information was given during a press conference on Friday by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
He told reporters that teams designated to doorknock infected people in Melbourne had visited around 500 homes, twice the number than the day before. But they had found an unexpectedly large number of people weren’t there.
“Disappointingly, I have to inform you that there were more than 130 unsuccessful visits,” Andrews said.
One hundred cases handed to police for investigation
“There will be a multitude of reasons for that. But what I can confirm is more than 100 cases have been referred to Victoria Police,” he stated.
“It is simply unacceptable for you to have this virus and not be at home. If you’re out doing other things — there may be a handful who are out getting some fresh air — that does not explain these numbers; the numbers go well and truly beyond anything like that. And all that will do is spread the virus.”
Andrews made an impassioned appeal to those who are in Melbourne and infected. “For heaven’s sake, if you have got it, you have to stay at home. You can’t pretend that you don’t have it,” he said.
Self-isolators may leave home for exercise
Under Victoria’s current regulations, people who are required to self-isolate may go out for exercise if they have no other option but to leave the confines of their residence. Ideally, though, they should exercise within the home or the garden.
They may also leave for medical reasons. But thereafter their ‘reasonable excuse’ options are extremely limited.
Asked whether he believed penalties should be increased for those people who break the rules, the Premier said he believed the current penalties were sufficient.
However, he would consider increasing the penalties if requested to do so by the police, for example.