News Premier calls for review of travel exemption that allowed infected contractor to fly into Qld

Premier calls for review of travel exemption that allowed infected contractor to fly into Qld

Queensland police have confirmed 210 people are wanted for questioning over coronavirus quarantine breaches. Photo: ABC News/ Chris Gillette
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Another three people have been caught trying to dodge quarantine in Queensland after travelling to a Melbourne coronavirus hotspot over the weekend.

The trio failed to declare they had been to the hot spot when they crossed into the state by road at Coolangatta, near the NSW border, on Sunday after making their way from Victoria.

The men, from Logan south of Brisbane, are currently in hotel quarantine and awaiting their COVID-19 test results.

Queensland state Disaster Co-ordinator and Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the men were carrying passes stating they had not been to a hotspot.

“One of those persons has been tested, yesterday, which exposed they had been in the Victorian area.”

All three have been issued with court notices and investigations are ongoing.

“It’s really, really disappointing … that people in our community are still telling lies and deliberately trying to mislead the system to get back into our state,” Mr Gollschewski told reporters on Tuesday.

Another on-the-spot fine had also been issued for a false declaration for another person trying to enter Queensland at Goondiwindi on the border with NSW.

In the past week, 10 people have been issued with notices to appear in court and another 400 cases under investigation.

Embassy worker a private contractor

Meanwhile, state health authorities are still trying to trace 14 people who were on a Jetstar flight with a man who was given an exemption to fly from NSW to the Sunshine Coast last week.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said two passengers from the flight had left no contact details, as it was not a requirement on domestic routes.

“The airline cannot tell me how I can get hold of those people,” Dr Young told reporters on Tuesday.

The man was given an exemption to enter the state under arrangements agreed nationally in June by Australia’s national cabinet of federal, state and territory leaders.

The man, who entered Australia claiming diplomatic status, was subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday and is now in self-isolation with his wife in Maroochydore.

It’s now since been revealed he was not a consular staff member and was in fact a private security contractor who had recently returned from Kabul, Afghanistan.

He had been given an exemption to enter Queensland without serving quarantine but later fell ill.

Dr Young said NSW officials “had no choice” but to allow the man to depart Sydney en route to Queensland.

“NSW gave an exemption because they had to,” she said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the man had presented documents bearing letterheads from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“We need it investigated and I’ve asked my department to talk to DFAT to clarify this,” she said.

Ms Pakaszczuk said she would raise the broader issue of exemptions at national cabinet on Friday.

Queensland had no new cases overnight, with 12 active cases remaining including seven in hospital.

Despite this, authorities remain on high alert, with health officials urging people with symptoms to get tested.

Authorities are also continuing to trace people who may have had contact with three women who returned to Queensland from Victoria more than a week ago.

More than 1.3 million border declarations have been issued since the state locked down its borders with nearly 10,000 coronavirus tests conducted during the past 24 hours.