Man at COVID risk ‘waved through’ border
A GOLD Coast resident admits he "broke the law" by crossing the Queensland border twice after visiting a coronavirus hotspot in NSW.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he passed over the border at Tugun three weeks ago after spending six weeks in a coronavirus hotspot in Ryde, Sydney.
He has questioned Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk who made the decision this week to keep the border closed indefinitely.
As of midnight Friday April 3, border restrictions were in place stopping anyone who is not a Queensland resident or considered exempt from the restrictions from entering the state.
If you had visited a hotspot in Australia, you were required to self-quarantine after crossing Queensland borders.
After the man lost his job on the Gold Coast 10 weeks ago, he travelled to Sydney to help a mate with a project.
He spent six weeks in the area where several people contracted coronavirus.
But desperate to return home, he registered for a Queensland Border Pass and set off on his journey.
"I registered about a week prior to coming back (to the Gold Coast). This was about three weeks ago," he told the Bulletin.
"When I went online (to register). The questions asked 'have you been in a hotspot?'
"From where I had been, I said yes. Everyone has the letter 'A' on their windscreen. When I printed it off, I had the letter 'R'.
"I had it printed and put it on the dash and when I got to (the Tugun border about three weeks ago), I got waved straight through.
"I basically just drove straight through."
The man says he wasn't questioned, stopped or fined when passing the border at Tugun.
After returning home he said he was "doing the right thing as far as self quarantine goes".
"I was just going over to the beach and walking on my own," he said.
"I went to catch up with a friend and they said 'hang on a sec, aren't you supposed to be in quarantine?'
"I rang the information line. (A lady) told me I didn't need to self quarantine. I said 'are you sure' she said 'yeah, you're exempt because you're a Queensland resident'."
Days later, the man said he started to feel sick and went to a Gold Coast hospital and was tested for coronavirus.
But in the midst of awaiting for results, he travelled to North Coast NSW to pick up a relative.
"My (relative) who lives in (north coast NSW) had her 'A' classification printed off. They needed to get back into Queensland," the man said.
"I left my apartment and drove straight down to Woodburn in NSW. Which was theoretically breaking the law, I guess.
"When I went to (North Coast NSW) I thought 'am I three days off my 14 days of quarantine?'
"I picked them up and said 'look, I'm still waiting for my results for the COVID test'. We both had masks on. I put the A on the dash, two of us in the car, and we drove straight through without being questioned again.
"The next day I got negative (results back), but that's not the point.
"Why do they have the border closed for if this is happening?
"My point is, what is stopping me from being somewhere else? Or being in Sydney and not putting down I've been in a hotspot?
"The border closure doesn't seem to make much sense."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declined to answer the Bulletin's questions saying it was a police matter.
A Queensland Police spokesman said they had stopped 190,000 cars at the state border, with those found to be flouting the laws issued $1334 fines.
"While some restrictions are easing in Queensland, border restrictions have not and anyone crossing the border requires a valid Queensland Entry Pass," they said.
"While the QPS is unable to provide comment on the individual case raised, the Border Restrictions Direction provides various provisions whereby a person who has been in a declared hot spot may still enter Queensland without the need to self-quarantine.
"There have been no active 'hot spots' declared in New South Wales since May 14.
"When individuals are applying for an Entry Pass, they must acknowledge the information provided is true and correct otherwise they may be committing an offence under the Public Health Act 2005."
To be eligible for a Queensland Border Pass or Remote Communities Pass you must be: "a Queensland resident or travelling to take up permanent Queensland residency or border resident commuting or accessing essential goods and services, not a resident, travelling to or through remote communities or Agribusiness or commercial fishing worker or contractor".
Originally published as Man at covid risk 'waved through' border