So, Turns Out You Can Get Jailed Or Fined Up To $50,000 If You Don’t Self-Isolate And It’s Fkd

Honestly, this feels like an attack on the poor.

The story of the man who continued working in his casual hospitality job after being told to self-isolate has brought out all kinds of toxic hate, but also thoughtful responses in regards to people who can’t self-isolate for the coronavirus.

The truth of the matter is some people literally cannot afford to take a day off work. When you live paycheck to paycheck, taking two weeks off work means not paying rent, and sometimes not eating. On top of that, casual workers don’t get paid sick leave, and already struggle with job security as it is. If you knock back a shift, chances are you’ll get less shifts in the future.

Despite insistence that self-isolation is working on a voluntary basis, cops in Queensland are doing random spot-checks with the Red Cross. While I understand the need to encourage self-isolation by potentially infected individuals, the disregard for those who don’t have the means to realistically self-isolate is worrying.

It’s unsettling that being poor will directly affect your ability to self-isolate, and that you can be brutally punished for your lack of resources.

What Happens If You Don’t Self-Isolate?

There are actually very hefty consequences should you be penalised for not self-isolating, with huge inconsistencies across different states.

The Tasmanian Health Minister, Sarah Courtney, declared that the Government was considering stronger ways of enforcing isolation after the incident mentioned above.

ABC reported that according to the Tasmanian public health act, the maximum fine for ignoring a public health order is $8,400 – which is much less than other states. NSW has a maximum penalty of $11,000 and can include six months jail time. Queensland has a maximum fine of $13,345, South Australia has a maximum fine of $25,000, and Western Australia has a whopping penalty of $50,000 or a 12 month jail term.

So far, no one’s been charged with these fines or jail-time, but after the Hobart man’s case it seems that the Government is taking things more seriously.

“If a person is suspected to have breached the notice they had voluntarily agreed to, we’ll initially work closely with the person to ensure they not only understand their obligations, but also the importance and seriousness of isolating under the current global circumstances,” a Queensland Health spokesperson said, reported by ABC.

Why These Measures Are Problematic And Won’t Stop The Coronavirus Spread

The trouble with these harsh measures is that they don’t actually address problems around why people might ignore advice to self-isolate, because trust me, no one actually wants to work sick.

And now, people are probably even less likely to get tested because they may be afraid of what the consequences will be if they find out they can’t self-isolate.

Scott Morrison has announced a stimulus package designed to hand out thousands upon thousands of dollars to businesses – prioritising profits over people. What about funding better health care, allowing workers paid sick leave, making landlords hold off on rent for those vulnerable and self-isolating, taking on the costs of medical treatment for coronavirus and funding all testing for the coronavirus?

It seems the Government is incredibly out of touch with the financial status and needs of many Australians – I hope they figure it out before it’s too late.

Image Sources: Twitter. 

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