A two-state criminal investigation is underway after Queensland Police intercepted a COVID-positive man who fled Melbourne for the Sunshine State on Monday.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the 48-year-old man tested positive for the virus in Victoria “some time ago” and Victorian authorities had been trying to locate him.
He arrived in Brisbane just after 9am on Monday, on flight JQ560 from Melbourne with approximately 84 other passengers and crew on board who are also now in quarantine.
“He was intercepted at the airport as someone coming from a hot spot and put into quarantine,” Mr Miles said.
“Victorian authorities, subsequent to that, advised that he was positive and so, fortunately, was already in quarantine. The only concern with regards to contact tracing, therefore, relates to people who were on that flight.”
Queensland police confirmed a criminal investigation was underway for “serious offences” including providing untrue information on his border declaration pass.
“That person was intercepted at our border with a border declaration pass claiming entry into the state, but was placed in quarantine by police,” Queensland’s Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said.
“This is going to be completely and thoroughly investigated by Queensland authorities in collaboration with our Victorian counterparts.
“This male person is well known to us, but obviously is currently in quarantine and has not been charged with any offences at this stage,” police said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said police had done “a wonderful job” to apprehend the infected border dodger.
“Just imagine if that person had got out into our community,” she said.
“My hat goes off to all of the police who are working on our borders right across our state.”
Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton said his department had no information about the man and there was no watch list for airlines to check if passengers had tested positive for COVID-19.
“It’s incumbent on the individual to do the right thing. If there’s any information we need to share between jurisdictions, we do that simultaneously,” he said.
Meanwhile, there were also two new virus cases overnight in Queensland. One is a 37-year-old male nurse at Ipswich Hospital, who had mild abdominal pain and got a test.
The other is an 18-year-old student at Staines Memorial College at Redbank Plains. He was already in quarantine.
The college, which has about 600 students, is closed and testing is underway.
Also on Tuesday, Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland’s southern border restrictions would remain throughout September.
“There will be no changes for the month of September,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said the decision would be reviewed at the end of every month.
“Our chief health officer, Dr [Jeannette] Young, has made it very clear she doesn’t want to see community transmission, and there is community transmission at the moment in the southern states,” she said.
Queensland has 28 active COVID cases.