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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

PM warns Melburnians could be fined for refusing coronavirus test if they live in a hotspot

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Scott Morrison warns Melburnians could be FINED for refusing to take a test if they live in a coronavirus hot spot

Scott Morrison hasn’t ruled out enforcing fines for Melburnians who refuse a coronavirus test as the city struggles to control the pandemic after a sharp rise in new cases.

Victoria is experiencing a second wave of infections after recording its highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases in almost three months on Monday with 75 new cases, followed by another 64 on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister has thrown his support behind the Victorian government’s tough suburban lockdowns designed to save Melbourne from coronavirus.

The prime minister warned people refusing to be checked for the disease could face fines as a hotspot testing blitz continues.

Almost 1000 residents in coronavirus hotspots refused to be tested when authorities knocked on their door last week. 

Pictured are Melburnians at a drive-in coronavirus testing site on Tuesday

Pictured are Melburnians at a drive-in coronavirus testing site on Tuesday

‘It is disappointing. We are doing it the Australian way,’ Mr Morrison told Channel Nine’s Today Show on Wednesday.

‘We’re looking to do it through incentive, through the use of carrot not stick. 

‘Occasionally the stick will have to be put about, whether it’s fines or sanctions in place to ensure we keep everybody safe.’ 

Mr Morrison said there was nothing surprising about Melbourne’s outbreak.

‘Where outbreaks do occur you need to move on them as the Victorian government is and they have our full support with that,’ he said.

Mr Morrison said mistakes in hotel quarantine were lessons for other states, noting no system would be perfect. 

He cautioned against other states reinstating shutdowns if local infection rates remain low.

‘We need to keep the economy open. If we don’t do that it will cost jobs.’

Lockdown will be reinforced across 10 Melbourne postcodes from Thursday until July 29.

People living in those areas will only be allowed to leave home for work, study, essential shopping, exercise or to receive or give care.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also launched a judicial inquiry into hotel quarantine with a slew of cases linked to staff infection control breaches. 

Under Victoria’s aggressive coronavirus suppression measures, international flights will be diverted away from Melbourne for two weeks.

Queensland is banning 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.

Mr Morrison downplayed criticism from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who implored him to stop picking on her state over border closures.

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