The State’s top cop has labelled the behaviour of a group of women at the centre of a coronavirus scare in south-east Queensland as ‘deceitful’ and ‘criminal’ with a third woman now under investigation.
Police have also confirmed one of the women is refusing to tell health officials where they’ve been, hampering contact tracing efforts.
It comes as Queensland records three new cases of coronavirus, however none are linked to the cases reported on Wednesday involving the women.
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Today’s new cases involve a man in his 20s who had recently returned from the USA and was already in hotel quarantine.
The other two were a couple who had eaten at The Apollo Restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Potts Point where a cluster has emerged.
Health officials say the couple was already self-isolating.
Queensland’s total number of cases is now at 1082, with 11 now active while five people are in hospital.
More than 6800 tests were carried out on Wednesday including almost a thousand in Logan and Brisbane’s south.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has praised authorities for the way they’ve handled this latest scare.
“Can I commend from the outset both Health and the police for the rapid response they’ve been deploying in the last 24 hours. This is exactly the scenario we’ve been planning and the rapid response is exceptional,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Deceitful and decpetive”
Police have now identified a third woman who travelled to Melbourne at the same time as two 19-year-olds who have tested positive.
The third women is now also in quarantine but has so far tested negative to COVID-19.
Police are confident there are no other people involved.
“We have identified those and we have identified everyone who was at the party in Victoria with our Victorian colleagues and have high confidence around that,” Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollchewski said.
“So our focus now is working with those young women to identify everywhere that they have been since they have come back into Queensland.”
It’s understood health officials have contact traced around 1000 people who attended various restaurants, shops and other venues across Logan, Brisbane and Ipswich.
However one of the women is now refusing to cooperate with officials.
“The second confirmed case has not wanted to let us know where she has been so therefore that is why I am spreading that message that if anyone is unwell, to please get tested because I don’t know where that second case has been,” Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said.
“All venues have been contacted and anyone who has gone to those venues that we believe is a close contact, we have contacted them.
“I am very about the second individual who has not been cooperative and has not shared with us where she has been, so we have not been able to contact those venues and we will continue to work with that individual and hopefully get information.”
Police have confirmed the woman could face even further charges for refusing to cooperate.
Commissioner Katarina Carroll says she is ‘very disappointed’ at the actions of all three.
“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,” Commissioner Carroll said.
One of the women has already been issued a $4003 fine with the other two also set to be fined.
But the Commissioner has confirmed she wants to see the women front court.
“This is purposefully to send a message that we will not tolerate this behaviour at our borders and put people at risk.”
“Increasingly risky time for Queensland”
Dr Young has warned the state is facing a critical time as authorities work overtime to prevent a major outbreak across Queensland.
She says the next week will be crucial.
“That is really important so everyone, if you’re unwell, it doesn’t matter where you are in Queensland, unwell with any symptoms, please come forward immediately, get tested and isolate yourself until you get that result or if you do get that result and it is negative, then until your symptoms have resolved.
“This is not the time for anyone to be spreading any symptoms through the community.”