Queensland will not go into lockdown despite the husband of a Covid-infected Melbourne woman who broke lockdown rules to go on an interstate road trip also testing positive.
The 44-year-old woman left Melbourne on June 1 during Victoria’s statewide stage three lockdown restrictions – travelling by car through regional NSW and Queensland.
She tested positive to Covid-19 on June 8 at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, with her husband now also returning a positive result.
The woman is understood to have been tested only because her husband needed negative results for work purposes.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young has held off on tightening Covid-19 restrictions though as it is believed the pair were unlikely to have been highly-infectious while on the Sunshine Coast.
Health authorities in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland are scrambling to track down hundreds of people who may have been exposed to the virus during a Melbourne couple’s interstate trip
‘The good news is it appears both the two individuals are at the end of their infectious period, which means the risk is lower than we were expecting yesterday,’ Queensland health minister Yvette D’Ath said on Thursday.
Dr Young said it was unnecessary to increase social distancing restrictions even in high-risk locations such as aged care facilities, hospitals and prisons.
‘I believe this risk is actually a little bit lower. The risk is such that we need to do that for this particular outbreak at this stage,’ she said.
Police believe the couple crossed the NSW-Queensland border at the remote rural town of Goondiwindi on June 5 in a bid to evade authorities.
There are also reports the woman lied on her declaration form when entering Queensland, sparking a chorus of public outrage led by Karl Stefanovic.
The furious Today host called for the border hopping couple to be named and shamed and have ‘the book thrown at them.
Three states are scrambling to contain a potential Covid outbreak after an infected woman left locked-down Melbourne and drove through NSW to the Sunshine Coast (Mooloolaba pictured)
‘I think there is understandable anger across regional Victoria, into regional NSW and then into some of those regional parts of Queensland as well particularly, because they have done such a great job protecting themselves against COVID,’ the show’s co-host fumed on Thursday morning.
‘A lot of people are furious. They have to throw the book at these people. They have to. I’m not averse to naming and shaming. We have to get this message through.’
Co-host Allison Langdon agreed the couple should be punished, but stopped short of demanding they be named and shamed.
‘My initial reaction is I want to know who they are, they’ve done the wrong thing but if you do that, you don’t have people coming forward and don’t have people getting tested,’ she said.
Stefanovic continued his furious rant.
‘They are going to get named if they’re charged,’ he replied.
‘How do you not get it? How do you not get that message through and maybe embarrassment is a way of doing it.’
Stefanovic felt for residents in the regional towns the couple had driven through.
‘You’d be filthy if you lived in the country and these people had driven your town, wouldn’t you,’ he said shortly afterwards.
‘How does the message not get through? It puts enormous stress on people who are now waiting for tests and enormous stress on businesses.
‘Let’s just hope [the couple has] got a good excuse.’
Stefanovic had weighed into the debate following an interview with Queensland-based Royal Australian College of General Practitioners vice president Dr Bruce Willett.
The couple crossed the NSW/Queensland border at the remote town of Goondiwindi, four hours inland of the Gold Coast where police are much more strict with their patrols
Karl Stefanovic (right) called for the couple to be named and shamed but co-host Allison Langdon (left) disagreed
‘I think there’s a lot of anger and disappointment really that people would do this. People’s lives are at stake and also people’s livelihoods with shutdowns,’ Dr Willett told the program.
‘I think it’s a wait and see game. I think we have to keep our fingers crossed that there are no more cases in the near future and we avoid the lockdown.
‘I think the important lesson from this is this can happen anywhere, anytime.’
Dr Willett added Queenslanders would like to the couple to be charged.
The woman had been experiencing symptoms – including the loss of her sense of smell – from June 3 but only sought a test on June 8.
VENUES ON ALERT ACROSS NSW AND QUEENSLAND AS INFECTED WOMAN’S TIMELINE IS REVEALED
Left Melbourne and drove across the border to regional New South Wales
10.30-11am: Gillenbah, Caltex Narrandera
6pm-10pm: Forbes, Vandenberg Hotel
7-10am: Forbes, Brew Coffee Bar
10.30-11.30am: Dubbo, Shell Petrol Station
11.30am-2.30pm: Dubbo, Church Street Cafe
6-10pm: Dubbo, Reading Cinemas
Midnight-10am: Dubbo, Homestead Motel
1.30-4.30pm: Moree, Cafe Omega
From 1.45pm onwards: Moree, Gwydir Carpark/Motel & Thermal Pools
3.30-4.30pm: Moree, Woolworths
All day until 7.30am June 5 : Moree, Gwydir Carpark/Motel & Thermal Pools
7-9.30am: Moree, Cafe Omega
11.50-2pm: Moree, Cafe Omega
4.30-11pm: Moree, Amaroo Tavern
Arrived at Goondiwindi border and crossed into Queensland
7.35-7.50am: Goondiwindi, McDonalds
11-11.15am: Toowoomba, Caltex
Travelled to Sunshine Coast
2.45-3pm: Moffat Beach, Sunny’s
3.30 – 4.30pm: Coffee Cat in Kings Beach
10.45-11.30am: Stockland Caloundra Shopping Centre – Coffee Club and Kmart stores
12.10 – 12.45pm: Caloundra, Bunnings
1-2pm: Buddina, Kawana Shoppingworld
3.50-4pm: Caloundra, Baringa IGA