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Players break social alienation in Melbourne to play Pokémon GO

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Police arrest a Pokémon GO player after a strong fight with a friend

Roughly five million people in and around Australia’s second-largest city have been under stay-at-home orders since last week after a surge in coronavirus infections.

In a crackdown on rule-breakers, police in Victoria state have handed out more than 500 fines in six days, totaling Aus$902,000 ($631,000).

Among them were two men caught playing Pokemon GO in their parked car, a group who claimed to be “charging their phones” at a friend’s home, and a man who sat down with his meal at a KFC outlet and refused to leave.

Last Friday, police fined a group of 16 party-goers a total of $26,000 for flouting Victoria’s COVID restrictions after a late-night dash for bucketloads of KFC.

In yet another incident, 10 mates sitting around a heater and drinking beer outside were issued fines. In another, two men were also fined for driving around playing Pokemon Go.

“The restrictions for leaving your home are well known,” Nugent said. “I can say it does not include playing Pokemon.”

Right now, there are only four reasons Melburnians can leave the house: for food and essential goods, for medical care or assisting in the caregiving of others, for daily exercise, and to attend work or school. That’s it.

ABC News presenter Joe O’Brien tweeted other strange reasons Victorians were receiving fines, including 10 people sitting around a heater and drinking and a man-eating at a KFC restaurant and refusing to leave.

Police have also reportedly issued fines to 40 people for visiting massage parlors or brothels, with two businesses also receiving fines.

Fines for breaching social distancing rules in Victoria can currently reach up to $1,652 per person and up to $9,913 for businesses. Due to the increasing rise in cases of COVID-19, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews is warning an unprecedented Stage 4 may be necessary.

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