COVID breach exposed: How teens avoided hotspot quarantine
BORDER checkpoints at train stations will come under the microscope after two teenage girls allegedly breached Queensland's health directives and travelled from COVID-19 hotspot Sydney without quarantining.
Extraordinary scenes unfolded at a Noosa shopping centre on Monday when police swooped on the teenagers, aged 15 and 16, and put masks on them before shutting down some stores.
Police Superintendent Craig Hawkins said the two girls, who cannot be legally named because they are underage, arrived in Brisbane by train on Friday before the state's borders closed and made their way to the Sunshine Coast.
It is understood they were without adult supervision when they arrived in a train at Brisbane Transit Centre from Sydney, which is a coronavirus "hotspot".
"They weren't completely honest with where they had been," Supt Hawkins said.
"But later on we discovered that they had come from a hotspot."
It's unclear how police made the realisation the girls had been in Sydney and tracked them to Noosa on Monday.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said he would talk to the Police Commissioner around border checkpoints at train stations after the teens were able to circumvent the border restrictions.
"We are constantly looking at how we are posturing across the state, whether it's seaports or road ports, through transit corridors, so the Queensland police are constantly looking at what they're doing," Mr Ryan said.
It's understood some shops at the Noosa Civic Shopping Centre were closed on Monday as a precaution.
One girl was from the Sunshine Coast and the other from NSW, Supt Hawkins said.
"I stress that there is no information to suggest that they are carriers of the disease, however in the interests of safety and certainly because they have come from a hotspot we were keen to ensure that they have undertaken the right testing to ensure that Queensland doesn't find itself in a situation where it might be contaminated," he said.
Supt Hawkins said it was likely the girls, who cannot legally be named, would be placed in quarantine but could not confirm if they would be charged. They were tested yesterday.
"They are young ladies and … they probably, maybe, don't understand the full criteria that's currently applying with CHO (Chief Health Officer) directives," Supt Hawkins said.
Witnesses reported seeing two females being transported by police from the shopping centre into a police vehicle with masks on.
"Two young girls got stopped outside the shop and told to sit on the floor, police gave them masks and shut all the doors of the shops, we're all locked in," one woman said.
Police officers are stationed at all ports and borders - including train stations - as part of COVID-19 measures and ask travellers about where they have been.
Mr Ryan said police were investigating the circumstances of the girls' arrival into Queensland.
"Sometimes people are going to lie, sometimes people are going to defeat the system," he said.
"Well those people will be found out and they can expect a response from the Queensland Police Service."
More than 250 people were turned back at Gold Coast border checkpoints on Sunday and Monday as the ban on NSW travellers kicked in.
Three women were charged last month after allegedly providing misleading information about being in Melbourne.
Two of the women tested positive to coronavirus.
Originally published as COVID breach exposed: How teens avoided hotspot quarantine