Things are getting crazy Down Under.
Police in Melbourne, Australia, reportedly fired at a man who was breaching strict curfew restrictions.
“Officers asked him to stop so they could question why he was out after curfew,” Lana Murphy, a reporter with 9News, wrote on Twitter.
Police have been forced to shoot through a 64YO driver’s window after he drove at them at an Altona Meadows servo. It was 1.20am & officers asked him to stop so they could question why he was out after curfew. He’s now in hospital (medical cond) under guard @9NewsMelb pic.twitter.com/CwOR9Oz2o9
— Lana Murphy (@LanaMurphy) August 15, 2020
“The Public Order Response Team approached the 64-year-old driver after he pulled into a service station at the Point Cook Road exit of the Princess Highway, Altona Meadows, just after 1.20 a.m. The driver allegedly ignored police directions to turn off his vehicle, and instead drove at officers,” 9News.com reported in a piece, headlined “Police fire gunshots after man caught ‘breaching curfew.’”
“An approaching police officer discharged his firearm while taking evasive action,” Victoria police said in a statement.
Clashes between residents and police have been increasing since officials enacted a strict lockdown on citizens. “Melbourne police ‘assaulted and baited’ over lockdown rules,” the BBC wrote earlier this month.
Police said this trend included so-called “sovereign citizens” – who espouse an anti-government ideology – confronting officers. In one case a woman repeatedly smashed a policewoman’s head into the ground. Authorities have increased fines for repeated rule breaches as Melbourne endures a deadly virus second wave.
Under the new lockdown rules that run until Sept. 13, residents must stay within a 3-mile radius of home; only one person from a household is allowed to shop per day; no more than one hour of exercise per day and groups are limited to two; recreational activity is banned; and a nightly curfew runs from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.
“People must wear a mask or covering whenever leaving the house. There are a few exceptions. People with a medical reason are exempt, as are children younger than 12. Those who have a professional reason are also exempt and ‘if it’s just not practical, like when running,’ but those people will still be expected to carry a face covering at all times ‘to wear when you can,’” The Guardian reported.
Restaurants and cafes will be closed throughout the lockdown, but liquor stores remain open for pick ups. Plus, no resident can leave the city, and no outsiders can enter Melbourne “unless it’s for work or study, medical care and caregiving, shopping for food or supplies,” according to The Guardian.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s biggest city went into full lockdown last week after four people tested positive for COVID-19. The island country had gone 102 days with no new cases, but Auckland announced that a family of four had contracted the virus.
In response, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a citywide lockdown as a “precautionary approach,” Reuters reported. In addition, New Zealand increased its protocols for virus restrictions, mandating residents stay home from work and school and don’t gather in groups of 10 or more.
In Auckland, more than 1.6 million residents will not be able to leave their homes except for emergencies, to buy food, and to seek medical attention.
“This is something we have prepared for,” Ardern said in a news conference Tuesday. “We have had 102 days and it was easy to feel New Zealand was out of the woods. No country has gone as far as we did without having a resurgence. And because we were the only ones, we had to plan. And we have planned.”
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