State Emergency Operations Controller, NSW Police Force Commissioner Mick Fuller, is urging community compliance after mandatory quarantine measures came into effect today.
From this morning (Sunday 29 March 2020), anyone entering Australia is subject to a ministerial direction requiring them to self-isolate immediately on arrival for 14 days.
NSW Police Force is working with a number of state and federal agencies including NSW Health, Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Defence Force (ADF), to ensure this direction is adhered to.
All arrivals over the coming days will be provided with comfortable accommodation and will be able to stay in touch with family and friends over the phone and internet.
NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said this was a vital step in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
“The data shows more than 60% of cases across the state are returned travellers,” Mr Elliott said.
“We need to ensure these individuals aren’t bringing COVID-19 home before we allow them to have close contact with other members of the community.
“This virus is incredibly virulent, and is continuing to spread, threatening our elderly and vulnerable members of the population.
“These measures are absolutely necessary to ensure we do our best to stop the spread.”
Commissioner Fuller said officers would be enforcing the quarantine period and would not hesitate to use the appropriate action against individuals who do not comply.
“Anyone who doesn’t comply will be breaking the law – it’s as simple as that. People need to take this seriously,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“This is an unprecedented operation and I would urge recent arrivals to help police in their efforts to protect the state by complying with these new restrictions.
“While most people in NSW are adhering to the government’s health directions, there is still a small minority of irresponsible individuals who continue to flout the rules and put others at risk.
“It’s because of them that need to have these types of restrictions in place.”
Commissioner Fuller said significant care was being taken to ensure those in quarantine remained comfortable for the duration of their self-isolation period.
“The NSW Police Force and our government partners have dedicated significant resources to ensure these individuals are provided with comfortable accommodation and are able to stay in touch with family and friends,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“All arrivals will be provided with comprehensive information regarding their obligations and what they are/aren’t allowed to do.
“I understand this is unprecedented, and that people would rather be at home. But we are dealing with an unprecedented situation, and we need to adapt accordingly.
“My priority has always been, and will continue to be, the safety of the community in NSW.”
Anyone found to be in contravention of a ministerial direction is subject to heavy penalties, which can include Personal Infringement Notices (PINs) of $1000 for individuals and $5000 for businesses.
Court Attendance Notices (CANs) can also be issued, which carry a maximum penalty of an $11,000 fine and/or jail time.
Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.