High-risk travellers turned around at the airport

 

Three passengers have been turned around at Gold Coast Airport, refused entry to Queensland after visiting southern COVID-19 hotspots.

The trio were among a total of 30 refused entry on the Coast in the 24 hours to 4pm today, police said.

The other 27 were turned back at Gold Coast road border checkpoints.

A total 13 people have now been denied entry at the airport since July 10 and put on return flights at their own expense.

No details were available of whether the latest three passengers were from COVID-ravaged Victoria or the declared NSW hotspots of Greater Sydney, Campbelltown and Fairfield.

About 900 people have now been turned back at the Coast road border checkpoints.

Earlier it was revealed Queensland's new case of coronavirus flew into the state after being exempt from quarantining in Sydney, where he landed from overseas.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today confirmed one new case of coronavirus for the state after a young man who returned from overseas tested positive.

The man, aged in his 20s, had gone into quarantine in Queensland upon his return from overseas but had flown into the Sunshine State via Sydney.

He flew on Jetstar flight JQ790 from Sydney to Maroochydore on Friday.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the man, a consulate official, had been exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine in Sydney and was instead allowed to fly home.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk provides an update on COVID today. (Picture, John Gass)
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk provides an update on COVID today. (Picture, John Gass)

Dr Young said the man had done everything within the rules, with special national exemptions available for consulate staff.

"There is a very, very small number of exemptions that have been agreed nationally and one of those exemptions is consulate staff so they are able to on travel to their home and to quarantine in their home," Dr Young said.

"It is a very select group of exemptions.

"So he did everything that he should have done and that he was allowed to do."

She said he tested when he returned to Maroochydore "so he was infectious on the flight".

Dr Young said others on that flight were now being contacted. Anyone on that flight should call 13 HEALTH.


Ms Palaszczuk said authorities didn't have any major concerns about the man's case.

The new case comes as NSW recorded 12 new cases in the 24 hours to this morning, and more than 650 cases are expected to be announced in Victoria.

Annastacia Palaszczuk said more than 13,700 tests had been conducted in Queensland over the past day after two women tested positive for COVID last week after travelling to Victoria with another friend. There are five cases related to the women's' trip - two of the three women who made the trip, one of the women's sisters, a man who dined at the same restaurant as one of the women and that man's wife, who is an aged care worker.

Ms Palaszczuk said 105 tests had been done overnight linked to the Bolton Clarke nursing home in Pinjarra Hills, where the worker had tested positive and no concerning results had come back.

"Of course the next week is very, very crucial," she said.

"We are in uncharted waters at the moment but have got through worse."

Dr Young said more than 500,000 Queenslanders had now taken a COVID-19 test, and she commended them all.

She called on people to continue to stay home sick, wash their hands regularly and practice social distancing.


Dr Young said the aged care facility impact had been done a "fantastic job".

She said 104 results had come back negative.

She said one resident couldn't be tested but authorities would continue to monitor that resident to make sure they were safe.

Dr Young said all aged care homes in impacted areas were being asked not to have staff work across campuses, and to ensure staff health was being checked.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young urged people with any symptoms to get tested. (Picture, John Gass)
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young urged people with any symptoms to get tested. (Picture, John Gass)


Dr Young said 150 staff linked to the centre were still being tested but "the testing has well and truly started".

Dr Young said she realised the aged care situation was very difficult.

"These are the most vulnerable members of our community so we need to keep them safe," she said.

Dr Young said wearing masks "wasn't essential" right now and social distancing was far more important.

"That will be far more safe than wearing a mask," she said.

She said masks were "for the end stage, where you've got nothing else" to fight the outbreak with, like the situation in Victoria.

"We don't have widespread community transmission," she said.

"We've got to keep alert for the next week until we can say we're out of that risky period," Dr Young said.

She said the two COVID-positive women who flew back from Victoria were infectious when they flew back from Melbourne.

She said people with symptoms needed to come forward, but people without any symptoms did not need to be tested.


But she said people who had asthma, or hayfever, should consider getting tested in case it was COVID.

"If you've got a symptom and you think, look it's probably my hayfever, that's the time to get tested," she said.

"If you're feeling really well … then you don't need to get tested."

Dr Young gave a special mention to business owners who were reminding their customers to socially distance, thanking them for reminding customers of the important message.

Dr Young said she would try to make the disruption to aged care facilities as short as possible, but authorities had to err on the side of caution.

Ms Palaszczuk asked families to stay calm, saying these measures were just a precaution.

"It's the right thing to do and I respect Dr Young's advice to government on this and that's why it's happening," the Premier said.

She said the rapid response to this current COVID scare was exemplary.

"The next seven days is very, very crucial," she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said the economic cost of a second wave, like that in Victoria, would be huge.

"There's anxiety out there and people have concerns," she said.

But she said "we will get through this" if people all did the right thing.

"From memory Treasury said if we were to end up in a second wave like Victoria it would be around $4 billion".

"That is why every single one of us has a big responsibility, and if you think of how this started with a couple of people going down to Victoria doing the wrong thing, and look where it's put Queensland".

The Premier also criticised Clive Palmer for his legal challenge to state border closures.

"I think it's very important states are allowed to do what they need to do," she said.

" … I want to keep my community safe,"

These legal challenges are ridiculous … putting everything at risk.

"It will put all the hard work we have done at risk."

There are now 13 active cases in Queensland, bringing the state's overall total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 1085. Six Queenslanders with COVID-19 have died.

There have been 560,607 tests conducted.

Families of residents at Bolton Clarke who have any questions are encouraged to call Bolton Clarke on 1300 22 11 22.

Originally published as New COVID case was exempt from initial quarantine


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