Outbreak threat: Quarantine dodgers disappear in Qld

 

POLICE have revealed that quarantine absconders lying about their identity have entered the state as recently as this week, saying it's luck that has kept Queensland from seeing a fresh outbreak of coronavirus.

The Courier-Mail today revealed that since April 18, 185 people have entered the state by lying on their border declaration forms about their identity before absconding on self-quarantine orders.

A further 25 gave real addresses but have never been found and are wanted for questioning by police.

 

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said while the vast majority of people entering Queensland are doing the right thing, it took just one to spread the virus.

"Unfortunately - and this is the message to everyone out there, it only takes one person to do the wrong thing and bring COVID into this state and we end up with an outbreak," he said.

"And we all know what that means, because if we get outbreaks, we will have to take very rapid and decisive action about locking down the areas … and the system will struggle if we get too many (cases).


"The message I'd like to say to all of our community - not just thankyou for doing the right thing - but please continue to do the right thing.

"And if you know somebody who is doing the wrong thing, call them out on it.

"It's all of us that will suffer because people like that decide to take things into their own hands and do what is not the right thing."

Mr Gollschewski said police had been seeing two cases a day where people gave fake details to avoid self-quarantine but that more than halved when Queensland went to a mostly hotel quarantine system on July 3.

Queensland police officers are seen operating a vehicle checkpoint at Coolangatta on the Queensland-New South Wales border. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Queensland police officers are seen operating a vehicle checkpoint at Coolangatta on the Queensland-New South Wales border. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

He said the law had also been tightened so that it was now a criminal offence to make a false declaration on a border form and those who offended can be fined $4003.

But he said people had provided fake information to avoid self-quarantine as recently as "within the last week".

"There are people out there in the community that probably don't want the police to know who they are," he said.

"There are people out there in the community that carry false ID. There are people out there in the community that deliberately tell lies to get around systems like this for a variety of reasons.

"They're the risk to all of us because they're coming out of hot spots potentially where they've been exposed to COVID.

"We've been very fortunate so far in that none of these people has infected anyone in this state that we're aware of."

Originally published as Outbreak threat: Quarantine dodgers disappear in Qld


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