Three men illegally crossed Queensland border

 

Three Logan men have been charged by police and taken into hotel quarantine after showing an incorrect pass, which declared they had not been in a coronavirus hotspot, at the Queensland border at the weekend.

Police revealed today that the men had been in Victoria, and had visited Melbourne, which is now in hard lockdown because of soaring coronavirus cases.

It comes as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reports there have been no new cases of coronavirus in Queensland in the past 24 hours.

Ms Palaszczuk said the men's actions had undermining "all of the great work Queenslanders have done".

"It is undermining all of the great work Queenslanders have done," the Premier said.

Seven people are in hospital in Queensland being treated for COVID-19.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said 86 results from the Bolton Clarke aged care facility have come back negative.

It comes as health authorities fear people could be walking around unknowingly infected with COVID-19, warning that there are another six days that symptoms could develop following the now infamous Melbourne-Logan cluster.

With Queensland facing an anxious wait, Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles warned on Monday that the next week could make or break the state.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said three men who had crossed the border illegally were being tested.

She said the state must remain alert.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the men entered Queensland via Coolangatta on Sunday.

"One of those persons has been tested," he said. "Three of them all live in the Logan area. They have been taken to hotel quarantine. All three have been issued with notices to appear."

He said it was disappointing that people in the community were telling lies.

"The fact that they have been in Victoria is something of ... concern," he said.

Ten notices to appear have been issued for people giving false declarations at the border over the last week.

No new cases were reported across the Sunshine State yesterday, but Victoria copped further restrictions.

Jeannette Young. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Steven Miles will hold a press conference. Speakers Green, Parliament House. Pic Annette Dew
Jeannette Young. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Steven Miles will hold a press conference. Speakers Green, Parliament House. Pic Annette Dew

Queensland's Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, urged everyone to get tested if they were concerned they were infected.

"While we have only detected five cases from the Melbourne-Logan cluster, we believe there may be more people unknowingly infected who are yet to show symptoms or be tested," she said.

"The incubation period for COVID-19 is wide-ranging and can be anywhere from one to 14 days, which means there is as many as six more days for people to develop symptoms from the current cases, if they do at all."

Since last week's revelation that three woman - Diana Lasu, 21, Olivia Winnie Muranga, 19, and Haja Timbo, 21 - allegedly lied to authorities to get back into Queensland after visiting Melbourne, bringing coronavirus with them, droves of people have rushed to be tested.

In six days it will be roughly two weeks since Ms Muranga, the first of two of the women to contract the virus, returned a positive result.

Dr Young on Monday conceded that the wait time for results was longer, however Queensland Health was allocating more resources to shrink the time.

Since July 29, Queensland has processed almost 60,000 tests and contact traced more than 1500 people.

Dr Young said she believed Queensland was in a position to manage community transmission and prevent a larger outbreak.

"You can rest assured knowing that we're working hard to trace contacts, increase testing and apply restrictions to high-risk environments like residential aged care homes," she said.

"The community can help by continuing to social distance, avoid hot spots, wash hands regularly, and stay at home if they feel unwell and get tested."

Griffith University virology professor Nigel McMillan, an expert in infectious diseases such as coronavirus, said if the Sunshine State could surpass the next week without a spike in cases, it would likely have avoided a direct cluster from the Melbourne saga.

"We know about 99 per cent of people become symptomatic within 14 days, so essentially the reason this next week is so important is because we're just counting forward from when those cases came from Victoria to when the symptoms start becoming apparent with people," he said.

"Whether we can say we're out of the woods depends on how much testing we get done and how quickly we isolate.

"Worst case scenario is someone has had contact with one of those imported cases and someone is asymptomatic and wandering around without realising.

"We are going to have to be vigilant for another two to three weeks before we're really sure, but the most important time is the next seven days or so."

Mr Miles said this week was crunch time.

"It could be make-or-break," he said.

"We have another week where the Melbourne cases could infect more Queenslanders.

"There has been just three additional cases linked to the women who came back from Melbourne.

"I know we've heard it before but get tested if you have symptoms, stay home if you're sick and practise social distancing."

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Chris Perry agreed that the broader community needed to be vigilant over the next week.

"This week is vital as we countdown the incubation period of potential new community transmission, following last week's new cases," he said.

"We know now how to best control the spread of this virus - limit your movements around the city, wash your hands regularly and keep your distance from other people."

 

Originally published as Six days: Queensland's virus time bomb


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