Three women who sparked a coronavirus scare when they flew from Melbourne to Brisbane “went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful and deceptive and, quite frankly, criminal,” Queensland police say.
- Queensland has recorded three new cases of coronavirus overnight
- Police will allege three women who travelled interstate deliberately falsified records to enter Queensland
- Police have confirmed Olivia Winnie Muranga and Diana Lasu are under investigation
All three women are in quarantine — two have tested positive to the virus.
Queensland (locally KWEENZ-land, abbreviated as Qld, officially the State of Queensland) is a state of Australia. It is the second-largest and third-most populous Australian state. It is a federated state and a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, separating the Australian mainland from Papua New Guinea. With an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres (715,309 sq mi), Queensland is the world’s sixth-largest sub-national entity, and is larger than all but 15 countries. Due to its size, Queensland’s geographical features and climates are diverse, including tropical rainforests, rivers, coral reefs, mountain ranges and sandy beaches in its tropical and sub-tropical coastal regions, as well as deserts and savanna in the semi-arid and desert climactic regions of its interior.
Queensland has a population of over 5.1 million, concentrated along the coast and particularly in South East Queensland. The capital and largest city in the state is Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city. Ten of Australia’s thirty largest cities are located in Queensland, with the largest outside Brisbane being the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns and Toowoomba. The state’s population is diverse, with 28.9% of inhabitants being immigrants.Queensland was first inhabited by Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon, the first European to land in Australia, explored the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula in 1606. In 1770, James Cook claimed the east coast of Australia for the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1788, Arthur Phillip founded the colony of New South Wales, which included all of what is now Queensland. Queensland was explored in subsequent decades, and the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement was established at Brisbane in 1824 by John Oxley. Queensland was separated from New South Wales on 6 June 1859 (now commemorated as Queensland Day), thereby establishing Queensland as a self-governing Crown colony with responsible government, named in honour of Queen Victoria. Queensland was among the six colonies which became the founding states of Australia with Federation on 1 January 1901. Since the Bjelke-Petersen era of the late 20th century, Queensland has received a high level of internal migration from the other states and territories of Australia and remains a popular destination for interstate migration.
Queensland has the third-largest economy among Australian states, with strengths in mining, agriculture, transportation, international education, insurance and banking. Nicknamed the Sunshine State for its tropical and sub-tropical climates, Great Barrier Reef and numerous beaches, tourism is also important to the state’s economy.
Queensland records three new coronavirus cases, as police set to …
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Authorities said three other people in Queensland have tested positive in the past 24 hours, but they are not connected to the travellers.
Two of them dined at a Sydney restaurant at the centre of a coronavirus cluster and have opted to self-isolate after returning to Queensland.
Queensland records three new coronavirus cases, as police set to …
The other is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.
Coronavirus concerns have also impacted State Parliament, which was visited by groups of students from a school linked to one of the latest cases.
The ABC has confirmed police are investigating two of the women who returned from Victoria, Olivia Winnie Muranga and Diana Lasu, for providing incorrect information on a Queensland border declaration pass.
The ABC has been told Ms Lasu’s family have been taken from their Acacia Ridge home and are now in hotel quarantine.
Detectives from State Crime Command visited her Logan home as part of the investigation.
At this stage, the third woman who travelled in the group has not tested positive to COVID-19, but is in isolation.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll alleged the trio had deceived authorities in order to cross the border.
“I am very disappointed with them at this stage, 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,” she said.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police would allege the women “deliberately falsified records to get back into Queensland”.
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He said the women allegedly went to Victoria, went to a party with between 20 and 30 others, and then returned to Queensland.
“Our focus now is working with those young women to identify everywhere that they have been since they have come back into Queensland,” he said.
“One has been cooperative and the other has not.
“We will continue to use the powers we have at our disposal, including considering further offences by anyone that doesn’t cooperate.”
Police said 95,000 people have come through Queensland’s air borders since restrictions were relaxed on July 10.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it was reassuring that no further positive tests connected to the three women had been returned at this stage.
“It’s too early to say we’ll walk away scot-free, we need to have a lot more testing over the next 48 hours before we can say we’ve got it in hand,” Dr Young said.
Parliament and CBD building undergoes deep clean
There are now 11 active cases of coronavirus in Queensland, five of whom are in hospital after the three new cases were detected overnight.
One of the cases was that of a worker at the YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care at Springwood, south of Brisbane.
Queensland’s Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Curtis Pitt said Parliament House had undergone a deep clean after three tours of 30 students from the Chatswood Hills State School visited the building on Wednesday.
“There is a chance, however remote, that students from that school have come into contact with the worker from the YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care,” he said.
“Any staff that have had direct contact with this school tour have been instructed to take leave, not to attend the precinct and get tested for COVID-19.”
A 26-storey building on the corner of Creek and Queen streets in Brisbane’s CBD is also undergoing a deep clean amid concerns a person with COVID-19 visited one of its offices two weeks ago.
Tax consultant Jamie Towers, who works in the building, said owners LaSalle Investment Management told tenants late on Wednesday there was a possible link to the building and that all precautions should be taken.
Miles praises self-isolation call
Mr Miles thanked the couple who had self-isolated upon their return from Sydney because they had dined at a confirmed cluster hotpot.
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“They had chosen to self-isolate and I thank them for that decision, it has kept Queenslanders safe,” Mr Miles said.
Across the state 6,826 people were tested yesterday, with 979 tests carried out in Brisbane’s southside alone.
“That really is the best we could have hoped for in the first 24 hours of our rapid response to those new cases, and we would certainly hope to see another 24 hours like that — a lot of tests,” Mr Miles said.
At this stage 94 aged care centres in Brisbane’s southside are lockdown as a precautionary response.
Dr Young said the next week would be critical in Queensland.
“If you’re unwell, isolate yourself and be tested,” Dr Young said.