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NSW, Victoria off limits, limousine in latest bid to sneak into Queensland

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All of Victoria will be declared a hotspot, as the Delta virus continues to spread out of Sydney. Despite the risks, four people still tried to enter Queensland illegally – in a limousine.

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The Victorian outbreak was sparked by the outbreak in Greater Sydney, which has already been declared a COVID-19 hotspot by the Queensland Government. Regional NSW remains unaffected, but from 1am tomorrow, Victoria will also be declared a hotspot, requiring any travel to Queensland to end in a 14-day hotel quarantine stay.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s advice for Queenslanders was “do not go to New South Wales and do not go to Victoria during this time”.

The government has extended restrictions in south-east Queensland, including mandatory masks, for another weeks as authorities seek to contain two new outbreaks of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

A 12-year-old Redcliffe boy who returned from the United States with his mother contracted the Delta variant in hotel quarantine in Sydney. His father, who collected them at Brisbane Airport, tested positive too, and today it has been confirmed his mother was also infected. They have had limited time in the community while infectious.

Palaszczuk said genome sequencing confirmed “it is that Delta strain, that Sydney strain that is circulating in Sydney at the moment”. It was “spreading to Victoria and coming up to Queensland as well”.

An international airport worker has a different Delta variant, possibly caught from a transiting flight attendant. She is a supervisor at the boarding gates.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said CCTV footage helped identify 23 close contacts, and 22 casual contacts, who would be isolated and tested.

“I’m quite convinced that we have today in Queensland two new outbreaks that are not related to all the other outbreaks we’ve been dealing with,” Young said.

Queensland Health is trying to have more airport workers vaccinated as police continue to meet all flights on arrival to ensure passengers have completed travel documentation and are taken into hotel quarantine as required.

However, people without the correct documentation are still trying to enter Queensland by other means. After revelations a super yacht was used to illegally transport passengers to a recent Wallabies game in Brisbane, Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski today revealed a full limousine had also been used.

Gollschewski said it was disappointing some people were still doing the wrong thing, and putting Queenslanders at risk.

The limousine was stopped at Tugun on Thursday afternoon. The driver, a 43-year-old man from NSW, allegedly failed to declare a recent visit to a hotspot. He was turned back while his three female passengers – all Queenslanders attempting to return home – were ordered into hotel quarantine.

“The three passengers are not cooperating at the moment so further investigations are ongoing, and the driver has been fined $4135 for a false declaration,” Gollschewski said.

In a separate incident, a 79-year-old motorist was also found without the proper documentation.

Young said she was confident Queensland had the appropriate level of restrictions to deal with the current threat. Palaszczuk was similarly confident, saying the decision to lockdown Brisbane and Townsville to deal with previous outbreaks had worked.

“When we do go hard and go fast, we actually come out of it better and stronger,” Palaszczuk said.

Queensland is now host to a number of sporting teams, athletes and competitions unable to remain in other states.

Since the pandemic began, Queensland has recorded 1,753 cases, while NSW is approaching 7,000 cases and Victoria has already surpassed 20,000 cases.

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