Violence on radar amid Vic virus crackdown
Victorian police are bracing for an increase in family violence as the spread of the coronavirus keeps people indoors (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)
Victorian police are bracing for an increase in family violence as the spread of the coronavirus keeps people indoors, with officers checking on quarantined households keeping their eyes peeled for evidence of abuse.
It comes as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria grew to 411 after 64 tests came back positive on Monday.
Victoria Police is tasking 500 officers each day with enforcing the closure of non-essential services in the state and mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travellers.
Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent says the potential for increased family violence is a significant concern while people are forced to stay home.
"We know that people who are required to self-isolate for a period of time, it can cause stress, it can cause anxiety, it can cause tension, and with that, there is potential for increased family violence," he said on Tuesday.
The deputy commissioner insisted personnel won't be stripped from family violence teams to help pad out the new task force.
Officers visiting quarantined people will also be on the lookout for issues.
"We need to ensure the capacity remains with the family violence teams, but we also have the skills necessary and the people attending to actually identify those that might be being abused or subjected to family violence-related matters," he said.
Video calls will be among the ways police check on people, Mr Nugent added.
About 150 of the 500 police taking part in the coronavirus operation daily will be drawn from the central operations response unit.
Officers who would usually be monitoring events or the transport system (both areas needing less attention right now) will also join the effort.
Individuals face fines of up to $25,000 and business could be forced to cough up $100,000 for breaching restrictions.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said people must change their behaviour, stressing he's "uncomfortable" with the current rate of new COVID-19 cases in the state.
"At the moment it's increasing by 50, 60 a day, we're getting new record daily figures. I don't want to see that. I want to see it stabilising and going down," he said.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos reiterated her warning that thousands of people in the state could die, urging people to follow isolation, social distancing and shutdown rules.
"We can reduce the number of lives lost if we all do the right thing," she said.
More than 100 former nurses have agreed to return to work to deal with the extra demand in the health system, the minister also revealed.
Victoria now has 411 COVID-19 cases, including six acquired through community transmission.
So far, 113 people have recovered and no Victorians have died.
Twelve people are in hospital, including two patients in intensive care.
The increased tally comes as the first full day of Victoria's shutdown sees all schools closed, empty courts and most of the hospitality industry crumbling.
Victoria's measures are considered a stage one shutdown and they are likely to escalate.
CORONAVIRUS IN VICTORIA:
* 411 confirmed cases
* Six cases acquired through community transmission
* 12 people in hospital including two in ICU
* 113 people have recovered
* More than 25,000 Victorians tested to date
* 350 of the cases are in metropolitan Melbourne
* 41 cases are in regional Victoria.
SOURCE: Victorian Department of Health and Human Services
© AAP 2020