News Coronavirus Police charge teenagers over ‘deceitful‘ Queensland border crossing

Police charge teenagers over ‘deceitful‘ Queensland border crossing

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Three women who sparked a coronavirus scare when they flew from Melbourne to Brisbane face fines of more than $13,000 and up to five years’ in jail after being charged over the alleged border breach.

Earlier, Queensland police said the trio “went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful deceptive” in failing to declare they had visited Melbourne.

Two of the 19-year-old women, and the 22-year-old sister of one, have tested positive for coronavirus.

Authorities said three other people in Queensland have tested positive in the past 24 hours, but they are not connected to the travellers.

Two dined at a Sydney restaurant at the centre of a coronavirus cluster and had opted to self-isolate after returning to Queensland.

The other is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

Coronavirus concerns have also affected state parliament, which was visited by groups of students from a school linked to one of the latest cases.

queensland teenagers virus charged
Brisbane residents queue for testing on Thursday. Photo: AAP

Women to face court

Late on Thursday afternoon, Queensland Police said a 19-year-old Heritage Park woman, a 21-year-old Acacia Ridge woman and a 21-year-old Algester woman had all been charged with providing false or misleading documents and fraud after allegations they lied on their border declarations.

The fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail, while providing false or misleading documents can draw a fine of up to $13,345.

All three women are in quarantine. They are due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on September 28.

Queensland Police say they are cooperating with authorities, after saying earlier one of the young women had refused to say where she had been in the Brisbane community since returning from Melbourne on July 21.

Earlier on Thursday, Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll alleged the trio had deceived authorities to cross the border.

“They went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful and deceptive and, quite frankly, criminal in their behaviour and it has put the community at risk,” she said.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police would allege the women “deliberately falsified records to get back into Queensland”.

He said the women allegedly went to Victoria, went to a party with 20-30 others, and then returned to Queensland.

“Our focus now is working with those young women to identify everywhere that they have been since they have come back into Queensland,” he said.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said it was reassuring that no further positive tests connected to the three women had been returned at this stage.

“It’s too early to say we’ll walk away scot-free, we need to have a lot more testing over the next 48 hours before we can say we’ve got it in hand,” she said.

coronavirus teenagers brisbane
Diana Lasu (left) and Olivia Winnie Muranga are under police investigation. Photo: ABC

Parliament undergoes deep clean

There are now 11 active cases of coronavirus in Queensland, five of whom are in hospital after the three new cases were reported on Thursday.

One of the cases was that of a worker at the YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care at Springwood, south of Brisbane.

Queensland’s Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Curtis Pitt said Parliament House had undergone a deep clean after three tours of 30 students from the Chatswood Hills State School visited the building on Wednesday.

“There is a chance, however remote, that students from that school have come into contact with the worker from the YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care,” he said.

“Any staff that have had direct contact with this school tour have been instructed to take leave, not to attend the precinct and get tested for COVID-19.”

Dr Young said the next week would be critical in Queensland.

Police said 95,000 people have come through the state’s borders since restrictions were relaxed on July 10.

-with agencies