Daniel Andrews has the laws to crack down on pandemic rule-breakers

Daniel Andrews has the laws to crack down on pandemic rule-breakers, by Mirko Bagaric.

Community dismay is turning to fury at people who test positive for COVID-19 but refuse to self-­isolate.

It is believed more than a quarter of the 6000 Victorians infected with the virus continue to mingle in the community. The Victorian authorities have been helpless and hopeless in containing them — the only government in Australia to fail at influencing community behaviour by legitimising its pandemic response. …

The biggest failing of Victoria’s response isn’t irresponsible people refusing to quarantine; it is the Andrews government, which has failed to put in place a mechanism to deter sufferers from leaving home. It was quite foreseeable that many infected people would not observe stay-at-home orders.

There are effective options open to the government, including multiple daily checks plus phone monitoring, placing cameras in people’s driveways and even using electronic bracelets, as has just been announced by the government in Singapore. …

Daniel Andrews has spent hours lecturing Victorians on how to behave in this pandemic, but he has missed the one essential ingredient to an effective strategy: implementation. Lockdowns will not suppress the virus if the infected continue to roam with effective impunity. Clearly, the threat of fines hasn’t worked so far. The larger fines just announced for people who breach the isolation rules for a second time will probably be similarly ineffective.

The Victorian Government lost much of its authority on this matter when it allowed — encouraged even — the BLM marches to go ahead in Melbourne. Hypocrisy does that.