Health Minister warns of penalties in Covid-19 update
Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt thanked Australians for maintaining social distancing during a update earlier today.
"Every one of us has the gift of being able to save lives by not transmitting coronavirus," he said.
"Any one of us could inadvertently lead to a tragedy by not adhering to the rules. These steps are immensely important, and even more important over this Easter. This Easter is the time where we can lock in the gains we have made as a country. The virus does not take a holiday."
Mr Hunt also urged people to see their doctor for their regular medical needs, echoing worries expressed by chief medical officer Brendan Murphy yesterday.
He also touched on disturbing attacks on healthcare workers, "whether it's verbally or by coughing on them, by threatening to transmit the virus".
Mr Hunt read out advice provided by the Attorney-General's department. "The deliberate transmission of COVID-19 is an offence under the general criminal laws that apply in every state and territory," he said.
"The most serious of these offences may carry maximum penalties up to imprisonment for life, if somebody was to take a step which led to the death of a healthcare worker if it were a deliberate transmission."
He added, "Those same state and territory criminal laws also make it an offence to cause someone else to fear that they are having transmitted to them the virus, for example by coughing on them. Interestingly, two people have been charged in the ACT for precisely this type of behaviour."