Queensland ‘quarantine dodgers’ pose no health threat, says Premier

More than 200 people who vanished from self-quarantine after allegedly lying to officers when entering the state pose no danger of spreading the virus, says Queensland’s premier.

Jul 22, 2020, updated Jul 22, 2020
Police will increase surveillance at quarantine hotels. Photo: ABC

Police will increase surveillance at quarantine hotels. Photo: ABC

Since April, police conducting compliance checks have found 387 people were not where they said they would be.

A number of them had left the state or had a legitimate change of address, but police are still to locate 210 people while a further 35 have been found and fined for breaching the rules.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the absconders would be fined when caught, but added they posed no danger in spreading the virus as the cases date back to April.

“This was way back in April … we don’t have any concerns about those people,” she told reporters.

Queensland has taken strict measures to control its borders which only reopened earlier this month.

Those from COVID-19 hotspots, which include large areas of Victoria and some parts of NSW, are either being turned away at the border or directed to mandatory hotel quarantine.

However, before the rules changed in July, travellers were permitted to quarantine at an address they chose.

State police union boss Ian Leavers said those flouting the rules should cop more than a fine.

“I don’t envisage a task force chasing after these people (but) should we catch up with them, let’s deport them back to NSW,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane on Wednesday.

“Get rid of them, they shouldn’t be here, it’s unacceptable.”

The new figures come one day after a man was fined more than $4000 for trying to sneak across the Queensland border hiding in the boot of a car.

Police caught the man, who had been travelling with two women, attempting to get through a checkpoint in Wallangarra in the Southern Downs.

All three were banned from entering the state.

Since July 10, more than 10,000 people have been penalised for failing to comply with the COVD-19 border direction.

– ABC / Talissa Siganto

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