News Coronavirus Man who absconded from Toowoomba’s quarantine hotel charged

Man who absconded from Toowoomba’s quarantine hotel charged

Queensland recorded no new cases of COVID-19 overnight. Photo: ABC News/Hugh Sando
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A Queensland man, who absconded from hotel quarantine in Toowoomba yesterday, has been charged and remanded in custody after being fined $1500.

Aaron Sydney Green, 25, had already completed more than a week of isolation and had tested negative to coronavirus before he left the facility, triggering a police search.

Mr Green today pleaded guilty to contravening a public health direction, after failing to complete two weeks of compulsory isolation.

The Toowoomba man had been ordered into mandatory quarantine after returning from a declared COVID-19 hotspot in New South Wales.

The Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard Mr Green had left the hotel on August 10, after having a fight with his partner and going in search of drugs.

Mr Green stayed with a friend for two days before turning himself in to police after being urged to return by his mother and partner.

He appeared in court via video link from isolation at the Toowoomba Watchhouse, wearing a face mask.

He tested negative to COVID-19 at the start of quarantine, and further tests today found he was free of the virus.

In sentencing, Magistrate Graham Lee said Mr Green’s actions were foolish and selfish.

He was fined $1500 and a conviction was recorded.

He will remain in isolation until at least next week.

It’s the first time someone in Queensland has been sentenced for contravening a COVID-19 health direction.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the incident was “disappointing”.

“Quarantine’s there for a reason. We know it’s the most effective way of stopping the virus getting in to our community, mainly because we know that it’s the day before you get symptoms that you’re most contagious,” she said.

“The police were very quick to act and to get him back into quarantine, which was good.”

AMA warns pharmacy testing ‘not thought through’

Overnight, Queensland recorded no new cases of coronavirus.

The state’s total number of cases since the onset of the pandemic remains at 1089, with a total of 693,707 tests conducted.

Yesterday, the State Government announced coronavirus testing could also be conducted in pharmacies.

AMA Queensland President Dr Chris Perry said while the State Government was trying to do the right thing, allowing pharmacists to conduct coronavirus tests hadn’t been thought through.

“It’s crazy, they’re supposed to be in quarantine and the pharmacists are encouraging people to get out of quarantine to come and be tested,” he said.

“Pharmacy COVID testing has the potential to be the mirror of what’s happening in Victoria.

“They haven’t thought it through, they haven’t thought about safety.

“It’ll make the Queensland government and the pharmacists extremely legally liable.”