Queensland Health has identified at least 959 people who were either close or casual contacts of the Melbourne couple who ignored lockdown to go on a big old road trip, before they ultimately tested positive for COVID-19.
The middle-aged couple had driven all the way from Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast, and stopped off at plenty of spots along the way. They didn’t have an exemption to leave their home state, and now police are looking to catch anyone else who gets the same idea.
“We also have a grand total of 959 people who have identified themselves through our portal as having been in either one of the close contact or the casual contact venues,” Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young told reporters on Friday morning.
But so far, no new cases have been reported on Friday and the couple’s closest contacts in the state have also already tested negative for COVID-19.
“Most encouragingly, the two people who lived in the same household as the two people visiting [from Melbourne] tested negative… so as we get more negative results, it will increase my confidence,” Young said.
So things are off to a promising start. But Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said we’ll still have to wait and see what the weekend holds before it’s back to normal.
“We would have expected to see a couple of community cases from that, if it was going to be in the community,” Palaszczuk told reporters on Friday.
“So the next 24 to 48 hours, we’ll be monitoring that very closely.”
Now the state is on the hunt for anyone else from Victoria who might be looking to flout border restrictions. Currently, anyone visiting from metro Melbourne could get slapped with a $4,000 on-the-spot fine for unlawfully entering Queensland.
“I’ve been advised this morning by the Deputy Police Commissioner that there are other people coming across our border from Victoria who are driving up through New South Wales, crossing our border from Victoria who do not have the exemptions or travel declarations to do so,” Queensland’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said.
“We will be making sure that you are found. This is an offence.
“You cannot come into this state if you are from a hotspot and put our state at risk. And we will make sure that you will face the consequences if you do that.”