Number of COVID hot spot sneak-ins busted in Far North
ALMOST two dozen people have been busted at Cairns Airport trying to sneak into the Far North from COVID hot spots since Queensland borders reopened two weeks ago.
Police have revealed they have turned back 23 people from either Victoria and Sydney, while a further 91 are currently quarantined at the Pacific Hotel in the Cairns CBD.
Around 90 per cent of those under quarantine are residents returning from hot spots, while a small number were from hot spots, but chose to pay for a two-week hotel stay prior to the State Government's blanket ban.
Flights from Melbourne have now been cancelled.
Far North police Acting Supt Steve Kersley said they had processed around 25,000 people at the airport, alongside the Australian Federal Police, since the July 10 border reopening.
Officers are continuing to greet between nine and 13 flights per day.
He said considering the huge influx of visitors, the number turned around was reasonable.
"Ninety-nine per cent of people are doing the right thing and we're trying to make the process as smooth as possible," he said.
Concerns have been raised in the southeast corner after it was revealed nearly 200 people entering Queensland from interstate and overseas had vanished - dodging quarantine orders and giving authorities fake phone numbers and addresses.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll, who visited Cairns yesterday, could not rule out some may be hiding out in the Far North.
The region has long been known as a hide out for fugitives and illegal immigrants given its remoteness.
Ms Carroll said what these border dodgers were doing was "clearly an offence" which was putting others at risk.
"I think wherever you are in Queensland, anyone could be at risk if people are doing the wrong thing," she said.
"You depend on good faith that people are going to give you the right information.
"It's disappointing when people do that because it's an issue around safety."
"It's very unAustralian isn't it … and also it's selfish at the end of the day.
"If anything they're putting themselves at risk as well.
"It undermines the entire system."
She said Queensland had done "extraordinarily well" through the crisis and police would work to track those missing people.
"If we were to find those people, I'm sure that we will deal with them, but it is not the right thing to do by your community," she said.
"We are very, very firm on the borders and we will continue to be so, as we will with quarantine hotels.
"We do not want to see the situation that we have seen in Victoria."
Originally published as Number of COVID hot spot sneak-ins busted in Far North