There are now loud calls for the women responsible for a coronavirus scare in Queensland to be jailed for lying to police, with tens of thousands signing an online petition.
Various businesses across Logan and South Brisbane have had to close this week, and hundreds of people have had to get tested for the virus, after three women flew in from Melbourne, with two of them then testing positive for coronavirus.
An online petition, set up two days ago, has quickly gained thousands of signatures in just a matter of hours, with the community demanding justice be served.
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“These girls have fraudulently declared that they had not been to Victoria when they had, placing the entire of QLD at risk of a full lockdown while jeopardising the lives, health, and financial welfare of the QLD community.
“We need to ensure a slap on the wrist punishment does not occur and the maximum penalty is applied so people will think twice before lying and refusing to self isolate,” the Change.org petition description reads.
Three women who travelled to Victoria were able to return to the sunshine state last week without going into mandatory quarantine, because they lied on their border forms.
Authorities berated the group at a press conference yesterday, the behaviour of the women has been slammed by the state’s top cop, who says she is “very disappointed”.
“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,” Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said.
While Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shared similar sentiments.
“Most people are doing the right thing. It is unbelievable to think that Queenslanders are putting other Queenslanders at risk.
“That’s what really annoys me here and there’s a social responsibility for everyone to do the right thing.
“These are people who deliberately went about doing the wrong thing,” the Premier said.
Yesterday, Queensland police charged the three women for allegedly providing false information on their border declarations.
A 19-year-old Heritage Park woman, a 21-year-old Acacia Ridge woman and a 21-year-old Algester woman have all been charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents, which carries a maximum $13,345 fine.
The women have also been charged with fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Related article: Trio charged over trip that’s sparked Qld virus scare
At the time of writing, the petition had gained over 90,000 signatures, increasing by a thousand every 15 minutes or so, with the aim reset to 150,000.
Meantime, health authorities say the next day or so will be a crucial time for south east Queensland, to see whether the virus was able to spread over the eight days that the girls were out and about within the community.
Related article: ‘Increasingly risky time’ as Qld mulls new restrictions