Police doorknocking to enforce virus ‘self-quarantine’
POLICE officers are doorknocking people who have "self-quarantined" over the deadly coronavirus amid fears they could be leaving their homes or inviting people over.
The Courier-Mail has been told officers are checking on people who have returned from China in case they have ignored directions to stay inside their homes.
Officers from the academy, traffic branch and railway squad are understood to be among those doorknocking to ensure people are taking the threat seriously after authorities asked more than 1000 people in Queensland to "home-isolate".
Police have been provided personal protective equipment for the visits.
When asked if people had defied orders and left their homes, or were suspected of breaches, a Queensland Health spokeswoman said "only a handful of people have had to be reminded of their responsibilities they have voluntarily agreed to".
"Any further failure to comply may be subject to enforced isolation and receiving fines of up to $13,345 and other penalties," she said.
The death toll in China from the coronavirus has reached 1113 with 44,653 virus infections recorded on the Chinese mainland.
World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world must "wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one" and that the first vaccine was 18 months away.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said: "Our job is to protect life and property and it's a really important issue that we work with all of the community and government stakeholders to ensure public safety."
The health spokeswoman said authorities had the power to enforce isolatio if required.
Health officers and the Australian Border Force have intercepted all residents who have been in or travelled through mainland China to issue them home-isolation notices since February 1.
They have also issued notices to people who arrived in Queensland from Hubei province before additional border control measures were put in place.
About 2000 people have been screened at Queensland's three international airports and 1020 are isolating.
"Fewer than 10 people have been taken to hospital for testing after being screened at the airport," the spokeswoman said.
"None have tested positive to coronavirus."
People who had self-isolated have been provided support from the Australian Red Cross and QPS over their 14-day isolation period.