Questions raised about honesty-reliant system
Queensland's coronavirus border breaches raise questions
Posted on 11.08.2020
Numerous travellers from COVID-19 hotspots have been caught by police after making it through border checkpoints, but the latest incident involving two teenage girls is an example of precisely what the Queensland Government has been trying to avoid by clamping down further on border restrictions.
The two girls, aged 15 and 16, travelled by train to the Sunshine Coast from Sydney before the entire state was declared a hotspot, but they failed to mention they had come from Sydney on their declaration forms.
Once police discovered the pair had been in Sydney, a search began and they were found shopping at Noosa Civic shopping centre.
They were detained for questioning and were expected to undergo testing for COVID-19.
- Police Minister Mark Ryan says anyone lying at the border will eventually be caught
- Six people have been caught out at the border since Saturday morning
- Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is closely watching the spread of the virus
Similar cases in Queensland in recent weeks, including two women who failed to declare their trip to Melbourne, have prompted further questions about the effectiveness of the border declaration system and how people are making it through checkpoints.
Declaration forms do not ask applicants for proof they have not been to a hotspot or for proof of their address.
Instead, travellers are asked to ensure they have documents handy to show officials at the border in case officers ask for proof.
Often border officers just look at passes and waive travellers through in a bid to ease congestion at checkpoints.
Border areas remain a risk
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young acknowledged policing border movements was a “difficult part for Queensland”.
Dr Young said it was only a matter of time before the virus arrived in northern New South Wales and then started to sneak into Queensland’s border postcodes.
“People from New South Wales can travel into those NSW border areas and they can then pass on the infection if they have it to someone who lives in that area, who can then cross the border into Queensland,” Dr Young said.
She asked residents living in the border bubble to be prepared in case a future outbreak prompted the cancellation of all exemptions.
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