Police in the Australian state of Victoria have fined Pokémon Go players for venturing out during COVID-19 quarantine.
Victoria's capital city, Melbourne, has returned to lockdown after COVID-19 cases reached new highs after weeks in which only isolated cases emerged. The city's four-million-plus residents are now only permitted to leave home to shop for food and supplies, provide care to others, exercise, or study and work if it's not possible at home.
The state's police force today revealed it has issued more than 200 fines to people found breaching those rules, including a group of people who left home to play Pokémon Go.
Another 20-plus people were fined for having a party that was detected when ambulance officers who had popped into a KFC for a bite noticed fellow patrons making an enormous order. The officers reported their find to police, who followed the haul to a home and found a large and currently illegal gathering in full swing. The fatty chicken fanciers tried to flee or hide before being issued with $1,000 fines.
All jokes aside, the situation in Melbourne is fraught because in March authorities recorded around 100 COVID cases each day. Over the last week that count has often risen beyond 200 cases a day, leading politicians to warn that continued non-compliance such as Pokémon playing could lead to even tougher lockdown measures.
Complicating matters further is news that Australia's COVIDSafe contact-tracing app only works about 25 per cent of the time between iPhone users, and that the app has yet to find a single contact that could not be established through conventional contact-tracing practices. ®