Poker Players Face Fine of up to $13,000 for Game Inside Melbourne Home During Lockdown

A group of 13 poker players have been fined for playing a game inside a house in Melbourne, Australia.

The players were among 67 people fined for flouting social distancing rules in the Victoria area in the past 24 hours. Those caught flouting the rules face on-the-spot fines of up to A$1,652 ($1,045) for individuals and $6,274 for businesses.

Police have been conducting spot checks at homes, businesses and non-essential services across the state.

There have been 6,468 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia and 63 deaths related to the disease. New cases have been decreasing steadily since the start of April, with just 21 detected in the past 24 hours.

Australia has closed its borders and forced a lockdown of non-essential businesses to contain the spread of coronavirus.

There have been at least 6,468 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

People have been told not to leave their homes, but schools, public transport, shops and outdoor areas remain open.

This week, an Australian mayor was fined after being spotted drinking beer on the street with three other people just hours after he had recorded a video encouraging residents to strictly follow social distancing measures.

Police fined Warrnambool Mayor Tony Herbert $1,050 on Thursday for ignoring restrictions intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. He was investigated by police after being photographed drinking with a group of people gathered outside a bar on April 7.

Herbert insisted that he had been doing his job by meeting with local business owners and the photograph was taken out of context.

"I had a chance, unplanned and emotional encounter with one business owner," said Herbert in a statement released earlier in the week, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"While I discussed the state of his business, a second business owner approached and joined the conversation. As we spoke we stood meters apart from each other with the exception of a brief moment when one of the business owners—who practices strict hygiene controls as part of his business—passed me a beer."

"After [the] discussion we finished with a sense of optimism for the future," he added.

Only hours earlier, a video was posted to social media featuring Herbert encouraging residents to continue following a stay-at-home directive and other preventative measures that he said had been helping to keep the virus contained.

"Let's all keep doing all the things we are asked to do by the government," Herbert said in the video.

Newsweek has approached the Premier of Victoria for comment.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.