Victoria Police have been praised for their response to a group of youths playing basketball during the latest lockdowns in the state.
After being tipped off that the game was in progress – and in breach of the current rules which only allow for two people to exercise together outdoors – the officers approached the youths and actually joined in the game.
Good deeds earned public approval
It’s a far cry from lockdowns last year when Victoria Police earned themselves a reputation for being authoritarian in their approach to breaches of coronavirus rules, as well as being aggressive with the public and handing out fines at every opportunity.
Such reports led to concerns that police officers were using the pandemic as an opportunity for flex their muscles, or even for ‘revenue raising’.
It’s the second good deed in less than a week captured on social media.
On Sunday night as temperatures plummeted in Melbourne, Victorian police officers approached a homeless man outside a Woolworths supermarket.
After discovering he had not eaten for 24 hours, they bought him roast chicken, bread rolls, bananas, packet pastas, milk and chocolate snowballs.
It’s this kind of community policing people have been hoping for – a touch of empathy – as Australians face unprecedented pandemic-related restrictions to their freedoms, and the economy takes a massive battering in the wake of the coronavirus.
Victoria in lockdown
Victoria has been in its fourth mandatory lockdown since the start of COVID.
Restrictions eased in regional Victoria on Friday, after testing did not uncovered any new cases.
However, metropolitan areas are likely to be in lockdown until at least 10 June, with a few changes taking effect this week.
The rules are that masks must still be worn outside the home, but the 5 kilometre radius around the home has been increased to 10 kilometres, and students in years 11 and 12 are able to return to face-to-face learning.
Regional Victorians can only travel to Melbourne for a permitted reason, and the Melbourne restrictions apply to them once they are there.
After months of concern about QR code compliance, the Service Victoria QR code check-ins are now mandatory across the whole state for places like supermarkets and shops.
In Melbourne, case numbers keep rising and there are more than 350 exposure sites.
There are also concerns the Indian Kappa variant of the virus is more infectious than previous strains.
New South Wales extends isolation period for visitors to Victoria
New South Wales Health has extended its stay-at-home restrictions for people who have been in Victoria since 4pm on Thursday 27 May for a further seven days.
Financial relief for Victoria
The Federal Government has also announced financial relief for Victorian workers affected by the lockdowns.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Fryenberg have been criticised for not offering a lifeline sooner, but have now decided that a financial assistance package of $500 per week to Victorian workers who normally work more than 20 hours per week, but can no longer do so.
Those who normally work less than 20 hours will be eligible for $325 per week.
The payments will flow seven days after a region has been declared a ‘hotspot’ and enters enforced lockdown but will only be available to people who have used all other leave options available to them from their employer,
A ‘hotspot’ is defined as a metropolitan area where the rolling three-day average is 10 locally acquired cases a day, or any area where there is the potential for wide community exposure to a highly transmissible variation.
A hotspot can be declared for a rural or regional area with a rolling three-day average of three locally acquired cases per day.
People who receive JobSeeker or other income support will not be eligible for the payment.
Those with more than $10,000 in savings will also not be eligible for the payments.
Grants have also been made available for businesses across the state.