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Five more Victorians found in Queensland in breach of restrictions

The Age logo The Age 4 days ago Erin Pearson
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath is seen providing a COVID-19 update during a press conference in Brisbane, Tuesday January 12, 2021. © AAP Image/Darren England Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath is seen providing a COVID-19 update during a press conference in Brisbane, Tuesday January 12, 2021.

Queensland's Health Minister has warned Melburnians trying to cross the border after five Victorians were found to have entered the sunshine state without an exemption.

The warning comes after a Melton couple drove from Victoria to Queensland through NSW before testing positive for coronavirus earlier this week.

Police are yet to interview the couple but police departments spanning two states are investigating the pair's travels.

Health officials said on Friday morning genomic testing indicated the Melbourne couple may have the Kappa variant of the virus.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said: "There are people crossing our border who do not have exemptions or the travel declarations to do so."

"We will be making sure you are found. This is an offence."

Deputy Queensland Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said while there was no urgency to interview the infectious pair, they expected to do so next week and would examine CCTV footage to help trace their movements.

"We will put any allegation to those people and allow them to have a response before we take any further action," Mr Gollschewski said.

He said the five other Victorians nabbed in Queensland since May 28, in breach of restrictions, were fined $4003 for failing to comply with directions and entering the state without exemptions.

The police commissioner said they included two Victorian women who were intercepted on June 4 at the Goondiwindi border. A Victorian man was also detected at the Coolangatta border and two more women arrived in Wide Bay, north of Brisbane, without border passes.

Those five have been placed into quarantine and tested for coronavirus with no positive tests returned, he said.


Video: Queensland tightens border control as Victoria enters lockdown (Sky News Australia)

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Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said about 316 close contacts of the Melton couple had been identified as testing continued.

"It looks like they have the Kappa variant, which is slightly less infectious, but still more infectious than previous [COVID-19] variants," Dr Young said.

From Friday, Victorians from regional parts of the state are permitted to enter Queensland, pending declarations, but those in metropolitan areas are banned without an exemption from the state's health department.

On Thursday, the Queensland Health Department said the couple did not have a health exemption to enter the state.

NSW Police said the matter had also been referred to its office.

Early investigations found the 44-year-old woman and her husband left Melton on June 1 before driving through NSW and into Queensland on June 5, then on to the Sunshine Coast.

Government officials from Queensland, NSW and Victoria met on Thursday as part of the investigation into the Victorian couple's movements.

The source of their infection is yet to be confirmed.

Victoria's acting Premier, James Merlino, indicated on Thursday that if the couple had travelled out of the state to move house, it would not warrant a breach under Victoria's coronavirus restrictions.

But possible implications for the pair in NSW and Queensland are yet to be determined.

On Friday, Mr Merlino remained tight-lipped about the multi-state investigation, referring questions to the Queensland authorities.

He did confirm, though, that the pair had been interviewed in "detail" on Thursday, with new exposure sites in Victoria likely to be revealed later on Friday.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said how the pair contracted the virus was still under investigation.

The couple has been linked to a cluster which had all visited Cragieburn shopping centre.

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