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PM's 'get real' message to anti-maskers after officer bashed

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Anti-maskers who think they are above the law during the coronavirus crisis need to “get real”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

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A woman who was approached by police on Monday in Melbourne for not wearing a mask allegedly bashed a 26-year-old policewoman by smashing her head into a concrete surface.

She’s been charged with assaulting an emergency worker and other offences, fined $200 for not wearing a mask and is on bail until her court appearance in March next year, while the officer had to get hospital treatment for concussion.

Victoria Police say officers are regularly dealing with people claiming they are “sovereign citizens” who think they don’t have to observe public health restrictions put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“Get real! This is a difficult time for everybody, I know people are angry and frustrated,” Morrison told Seven’s Sunrise program on Wednesday.

“(But police) are doing their job, seeking to have these arrangements followed and complied with. It is not unreasonable to wear a mask, not unreasonable to do the most basic things around distancing.”

Chief Commissioner Shane Patton called Monday’s incident in Frankston “disgusting” and branded anti-maskers “selfish”.

“It’s just about them, it’s actually an arrogant approach. We won’t stand for it,” he told Nine’s Today program.

Melbourne this week entered stage four restrictions with a curfew and stronger stay-at-home orders, as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise as the city undergoes a second-round outbreak.

Wearing a mask while outdoors in metropolitan Melbourne has been mandatory since July 22 and in regional Victoria since Sunday.

The state government is expected to make announcements on mental health support on Wednesday to help people struggling with the ongoing lockdown, which started in July and won’t end until mid-September.

Widespread business shutdowns across the retail, manufacturing and construction industries are expected to impact the livelihoods of at least 250,000 Victorians.

They will join another 250,000 stood down since the pandemic began and another 500,000 working from home, likely placing a greater burden on mental health services.

Victoria recorded 439 new cases and 11 more deaths on Tuesday – all of the deaths were connected to aged care.

-AAP

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