Australia's second-most populous state, Victoria, said Tuesday that military personnel will be deployed to enforce COVID-19 isolation orders, with anyone caught in breach of those rules facing tough new fines.
Victoria earlier this week imposed a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people's daily movements and ordered large parts of the local economy to close to slow the spread of coronavirus.
But nearly a third of those who had contracted COVID-19 were not home isolating when checked on by officials, requiring tough new penalties, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday.
Andrews said 500 military personnel will this week deploy to Victoria to bolster enforcement of self-isolation orders, with fines of nearly 5,000 Australian dollars ($3,559) for breaching stay at home orders. The only exemption will be for urgent medical care.
"There is literally no reason for you to leave your home and if you were to leave your home and not be found there, you will have a very difficult time convincing Victoria police that you have a lawful reason," Andrews told reporters in Melbourne .
Victoria on Tuesday reported 439 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours. Andrews said 11 people had died from the virus since Monday. In total, Australia has recorded nearly 19,000 COVID-19 cases and 232 fatalities, far few than many other developed nations.