THERE’S been a rush, right across the state, for COVID-19 jabs since Melbourne’s latest outbreak caught hold.
But, frustrated by the long waits in queues at Melbourne metro vaccination centres, Melbourne people have been turning up here, in Bass Coast.
The concerning practice, which is cutting locals out of getting access to limited vaccine, has prompted a warning from Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child.
“We are having a lot of people turn up from metro areas to be immunised here, using the five reasons as a way to get here,” Ms Child said today.
“But as of Thursday, June 3, people from metro cannot travel to regional for vaccinations,” Ms Child said.
The directive from the State Government is as follows:
* You are allowed to travel more than 10km from home to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but you cannot travel into regional Victoria to receive it if you are in metropolitan Melbourne.
The problem for health services and also for retail and hospitality business owners checking IDs is that many Melbourne metro people live at their second residence in local coastal towns, and may legitimately be accessing services locally.
If there’s any doubt though, there’s a good chance police will intervene.
Almost 500 Victoria Police officers are undertaking an operation to detect anyone in breach of Melbourne’s extended lockdown, including those trying to visit regional areas.
Speaking at a media conference on Friday, June 4 Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said 200 police, supported by an additional 250 officers, would patrol the main arterial roads out of Melbourne.
“They will be using automatic number-plate recognition systems to assist them with identifying vehicles from Melbourne in regional and rural areas,” Dpt Comm Nugent said.
“We’ll also have a heavy presence around all those back roads around the arterial (roads) heading out of Melbourne.
“They will be providing a highly visible and proactive response, checking vehicles to ensure they’re compliant with the Chief Health Officer’s (CHO) directions.”
Dpt Comm Nugent said the proactive operation had been chosen instead of the ‘ring of steel’, which used significant resources requiring over 400 police per day.