Two coronavirus-infected Brisbane teens who dodged quarantine after returning from Victoria will face court, as Queensland braces itself for a possible outbreak of community transmission.
The 19-year-olds returned from Melbourne via Sydney, but allegedly lied on their border declaration form to avoid having to quarantine at their own expense in a hotel.
A third woman travelled with them, but at this stage has tested negative to the virus and remains in quarantine.
All three are being investigated by police, with Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles saying the virus-positive pair will front court over their behaviour.
The charges they will face are still to be determined.
One has already been fined $4003 for making false declarations.
Queensland Police say one of the virus-positive women was upfront about where she had been in recent weeks, but the other is refusing to give authorities her details.
It’s believed they attended a party while in Victoria.
The pair, from Logan and Park Ridge, arrived in Queensland on July 21 and spent eight days in the community before testing positive.
One of them is a cleaner at a school.
The action of the women has sparked a massive tracing mission for Queensland Health, beginning with contacting passengers seated near the pair on Virgin Australia flights VA863 and VA977.
Shopping centres, restaurants, a school, a church, and aged care centres have been closed.
A third woman – the sister of one of the teens – also tested positive to the illness on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old works at YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care.
She is the state’s first community transmission case of COVID-19 in two months.
“We have not had a new case of COVID-19 outside of quarantine since May,” Dr Miles told reporters.
The state recorded an additional three new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.
One man in his 20s, who recently returned from the United States, is in hotel quarantine, while a couple who ate at The Apollo restaurant in Sydney’s Pott Point – where there has been a small outbreak – have gone into isolation.
None are connected to three young women who tested positive to COVID-19 following the Melbourne trip.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was seething at the breach of COVID-19 protocols as she announced the Queensland border would be shut to people from Sydney from Saturday.
“I’m absolutely furious that this has happened,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We need people to tell the truth … We do not want a second wave here. We do not want widespread community transmission.
“These two have been out in the community and hopefully it has not spread, but time will tell.”
However, state Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has indicated it’s unlikely the borders will once again be closed to all states and territories.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called on the premier to publicly release the health advice behind the decision to shut the border to anyone from Sydney.
“I think whatever decisions premiers are taking, they have to explain them and they have to outline to the public what the medical advice is to support those decisions,” he told reporters in Canberra.