Police have revealed the staggering number of cunning motorists they have sent packing in the past two weeks after they were caught trying to enter the sunshine state from declared hotspots.
On the Gold Coast alone, almost 600 people feared to have been in a COVID-19 hotspot have been stopped from entering the city since July 10.
Gold Coast Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said it proves our tough stance at the border checkpoints is working.
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“Since midday the 10th July to 4pm yesterday on the Gold Coast checkpoints we have stopped and turned around over 560 people who otherwise would have entered our state,” Superintendent Wheeler said.
“These people were either directly from hotspots or they have been in a hotspot 14 days previous, or they couldn’t prove to us they had not come from a hotspot.
“Of course, any one of those people, if they had gotten in, could have caused transmission in our state,” he warned.
Officers revealed one man, who came from a NSW hotspot, was fined after he was busted trying to enter the state with false documents not once, but twice.
“We removed a 42-year-old man off a bus a couple of days ago in Coolangatta,” Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.
“That person had come directly from a hotspot in New South Wales… We removed and refused entry to the state to that person.
“We will allege that person then went and got a border declaration, made a false declaration, got back on a bus, and was intercepted some hours later.
“He was removed and fined for a false declaration and of course that person was shown the backdoor to our state.”
Police also today revealed that a new push notification system will now be used to remind people to update their border declaration passes.
“We’re not just sitting back trying to use the same system. We’re continually trying to improve our system,” Queensland’s Deputy Police commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters.
It comes after Fairfield in Sydney was yesterday added to Queensland’s list of COVID-19 hotspots, banning another 27 suburbs from entering the state.
“We saw with that declaration we’ve been able to use a push notification that goes with the border pass,” Gollschewski said.
“So what that means is that 654 people that are in that area who already have a border pass will get notified automatically that they need to update that.”
He said the same push notification system will also be used to notify people in the Tweed area about “when their passes are due for renewal” in a bid to make crossing the Qld border a smoother process for everyone.
“So the message is always for those people who do come across our borders to make sure they plan ahead and be prepared, and to realise that whenever we make changes to our border declaration pass process that we have seen delays,” Gollschewski warned.
The ban on Fairfield residents kicks in at 1am on July 27, with motorists being warned delays are likely and to ensure they allow for extra travel time if crossing the border on Monday.
Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said he understands the traffic is frustrating, but warned it’s likely to remain this way for quite some time yet.
“This is not over. With six months in we’re probably not even half way through this response to be really honest,” he said.
“Our primary focus is to make sure that COVID-19 does not re-establish itself in Queensland as we are seeing in other parts of Australia.”
A crackdown on licenced venues is also continuing this weekend, with party-goers warned to be on their best behaviour when out and about.
“We saw increased compliance last weekend, but we continue to see some that aren’t getting it right,” he said.
More than 180 venues were inspected , but so far no infringement notices have been issued.
“Patron behaviour remains an issue for us. It’s Friday, there’s a lot of people out there saying tonight’s the night, let’s go out and have a few drinks,” Gollschewski said.
“You have the responsibility to do the right thing. Remember your social distancing.”