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Coronavirus Queensland: Women fined $4k for exploiting loophole

A pair of coronavirus-infected teenagers were able to illegally enter Queensland from Victoria by flying via Sydney before living it up at 11 different venues around Brisbane. 

Olivia Winnie Muranga and Diana Lasu, both 19, arrived together in Brisbane from Melbourne on Tuesday, July 21.

All Victorian residents were banned from entering Queensland from July 9, but the women were able to enter the Sunshine State by stopping off in Sydney.

The teens allegedly travelled on Virgin Australia flight 863 from Melbourne to Sydney, to make it appear like they hadn’t come from Melbourne.

Shortly after, they boarded flight VA 977 to Brisbane.

Diana Lasu

Olivia Winnie Muranga (left) and Diana Lasu, (right) both 19, arrived together in Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21

The teens allegedly travelled on Virgin Australia flight 863 from Melbourne to Sydney, to make it appear like they hadn't come from Melbourne

The teens allegedly travelled on Virgin Australia flight 863 from Melbourne to Sydney, to make it appear like they hadn’t come from Melbourne

They are also accused of making false declarations on their border paperwork which asks passengers if they have visited Victoria in the past 14 days.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll on Thursday revealed 40 people have been caught lying to authorities while crossing the Queensland border.  

‘From the beginning of this, we have issued well over 1100 infringement notices and 40 people have made false declarations at our borders,’ she said. 

‘I have asked the ones issued recently, in particular to these women, the infringement notices to be renewed and for them to actually go before the court.

‘This is purposefully so to send a message that we will not tolerate this behaviour at our borders.’

Queensland on Thursday recorded three new coronavirus cases, including two linked to a previously identified Sydney cluster.

‘We’ve seen that today, its sensible to close the border to anyone from greater Sydney,’ Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young agreed.

The third case was a man in his 20s who returned from the United States.

Ms Lasu (pictured) and Ms Muranga are also accused of making false declarations on their border paperwork

Ms Lasu (pictured) and Ms Muranga are also accused of making false declarations on their border paperwork

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this is ‘the best scenario we could have hoped for’.   

The three new cases are unrelated to Ms Muranga and Ms Lasu. 

Ms Muranga is believed to have gone to work for two days at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of the city, before calling in sick and then going to see a doctor on Saturday, who said to get tested immediately.

She didn’t do so until Monday.

Instead she continued to attend venues in Ipswich and Brisbane, including going to a Thai restaurant in Springfield on Sunday and a Southbank cocktail bar on Monday.

Police have launched a criminal investigation into the 19-year-olds, who between them visited 11 venues in Brisbane while infected.

Authorities will probe how the women were able to travel from Melbourne to Brisbane despite the border closure, and whether they used fake names and contact details on their declaration passes.

Investigators will also probe whether the pair were at party during their stay in Melbourne which was attended by about 20 people.

The gathering was broken up by police, who issued fines totalling $30,000.

Ms Muranga is a cleaner at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge.

The school’s principal Gary Cully confirmed a coronavirus-infected cleaner worked for three days last week.

‘The staff member was on site last week and then rang in sick and then that’s when the trace program started,’ Mr Cully told The Courier Mail.

‘As far as I’m aware they were not symptomatic while they were onsite and then called in sick the following day and then the next week were tested.’

Shopping centres, restaurants, a school, and a church they visited will shut while authorities scramble to conduct contact tracing.

The incident prompted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to announce all Sydneysiders will be banned from entering the state from Saturday.

‘There will be a thorough police investigation here but now we have to act as a community and in the areas where the chief health officer says need to be closed, will be closed and I urge people in those areas when that list goes out later on today to please ensure that if you are feeling sick you must go and get tested,’ she said.

Between them the teenagers visited 11 different venues in Brisbane while infected with COVID-19

Between them the teenagers visited 11 different venues in Brisbane while infected with COVID-19

Ms Muranga works as a cleaner at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge (pictured), which is functioning as a coronavirus testing facility

Ms Muranga works as a cleaner at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge (pictured), which is functioning as a coronavirus testing facility

Queensland residents returning will have to isolate in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young called the pair ‘reckless’ and said she was ‘very disappointed’. 

Health Minister Steven Miles said there was a large amount of contact tracing that needed to be done with the community as well.

‘These young women have gone about their business within the communities that they live in and so there will be a large amount of contact tracing to be done, largely within it the Logan and Springfield areas, including shopping malls, restaurants and a church.’

One of the women attended the Orion Springfield Central in Ipswich, south-west of Brisbane, on Sunday where she dined at the Peak Thai restaurant about 6.30pm.

THE 11 QUEENSLAND LOCATIONS VISITED BY INFECTED TEENAGERS 

The pair took flight VA863 from Melbourne to Sydney and flight VA977 from Sydney to Brisbane, 21 July

Parklands Christian College, Park Ridge, 22-23 July 2020 9.30am-6pm

Madtongsan IV Restaurant, Sunnybank, 23 July 2020 7-9pm

Heeretea -Bubble Tea Shop, Sunnybank, 23 July 2020 9.25pm

YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care, Springwood, 23-24 July 2020 All

Primary Medical and Dental Practice, Browns Plains, 24 July 2020 3.30-3.50pm

Thai Peak Restaurant, Springfield, 26 July 2020 6.30-9pm

Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar, Southbank, 27 July 2020 All

P’Nut Street Noodles, Southbank, 27 July 2020 All

African Grocery Shop, Woodridge (Station Rd), 28 July 2020 All

Primary Medical and Dental Practice, Browns Plains, 28 July 2020 12.25-12.30pm

Chatime Grand Plaza, Browns Plains, 28 July 2020

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk