Toowoomba COVID-19 case referred to police for investigation

Henrietta Strickland
August 5, 2020

A coronavirus travel exemption that allowed an infected embassy worker to fly from NSW to Queensland needs to be reviewed, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said he had evidence people were travelling from COVID-hotspots into other areas such as Canberra, to flout border restrictions.

"There are people dying".

Ms Palaszczuk said exemptions would be limited and include compassionate reasons.

"This is the right thing to do".

"I know we've heard it before but get tested if you have symptoms, stay home if you're sick and practise social distancing". But your health comes first.

"We need to protect not only our health, we need to protect the families, we need to protect our economy".

"We've seen what's happened in Victoria".

"We are on our guard and will do everything we can to stop that happening here".

Health Minister Steven Miles said border protections would be stepped up, forcing visitors to show photo identification to verify their credentials.

"We're now investigating a male person who we will allege. has deliberately driven from Sydney out of a hotspot into the ACT to get a flight to come to Brisbane and then connected into Cairns, " he said.

"It is undermining all of the great work Queenslanders have done", the Premier said.

Under a national agreement on borders, consular workers are one of only a few type of people who are exempt from having to undertake mandatory two weeks quarantine.

Queensland has taken a tough stance to close the loophole allowing consular staff to bypass Covid-19 quarantine rules.

"I think exemptions need to be closed as much as possible because we have to keep our communities safe", she said.

"And we have taken the decisive decision to act". I said I will not hesitate and today is the day, ' she said.

"We keep records of this information for all our flights in case we need to contact customers with information regarding their flight", the spokesperson said.

Since last week's revelation that three woman - Diana Lasu, 21, Olivia Winnie Muranga, 19, and Haja Timbo, 21 - allegedly lied to authorities to get back into Queensland after visiting Melbourne, bringing coronavirus with them, droves of people have rushed to be tested.

The men, aged 23, 25 and 29, failed to declare they had been to the hotspot when they crossed into the state at Coolangatta after allegedly spending several weeks in Melbourne.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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