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'We're watching you' - more checks on homes, businesses to prevent outbreak

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As Victoria struggles to contain COVID-19, Queensland will be placed under additional surveillance to avoid a second wave of infection.

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National Cabinet is today discussing the Victorian situation and whether lax community attitudes might disrupt plans for Queensland to lift border restrictions on July 10.

The Palaszczuk government will make the border decision in the coming days, but ministers today took the opportunity to warn people in hotel and home quarantine they needed to keep following the rules.

“Don’t think we’re not watching you,” Police Minister Mark Ryan said.

About 3000 people in Queensland are currently in 14-day quarantine, more than 2000 in their own homes. Inspectors will make more home and hotel visits and also monitor businesses to ensure they are complying with industry-specific rules. This will include visiting farm workers.

“What we’ve seen out of Victoria is the absolute need for Queenslanders to be complying with quarantine orders,” Ryan said.

“Don’t drop the ball on this, keep compliant, don’t be complacent.”

Police have already issued 2111 fines, each carrying a penalty of $1334, for public health breaches during the pandemic. Inspectors will continue to refer any worrying cases to police for follow-up and health authorities will consider tightening rules if required.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the community had generally supported the public health efforts, allowing more public activities to resume. However, he was concerned that some Queenslanders had stopped social distancing.

“You only have to go to some shopping centres and you’ll see that people are back to mixing … like they’ve always done,” Gollschewski said.

“Please do not do that.”

The crackdown comes after Queensland ended its eight-day run of no new COVID-19 cases with a positive test result for an Australian Defence Force member returning from Papua New Guinea. That took the tally, as of Friday, to 1067 since the pandemic began, with two cases currently active.

By contrast, Victoria recorded another 30 cases of COVID-19 overnight, the latest in a string of double-digit days.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said Queensland’s contact-tracing capabilities were the envy of other states and another 540 public servants were on standby to help if required.

“Again, we’ve seen this time and time again, that the majority of our positive cases are people coming from overseas or coming across domestic borders,” D’Ath said.

Tomorrow marks 150 days since Queensland declared a public health emergency, the first state or territory to do so. Since then, more than 6000 people have been contacted as part of contact-tracing, more than 68,000 people have been ordered to self-quarantine, and almost 350,000 tests have been done.

Queensland’s COVID-19 numbers peaked on March 24 when 78 new cases were reported.

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