Qld COVID teens threw 'illegal' party in Victoria

 

Police believe three teenagers at the centre of a Queensland coronavirus outbreak hosted an "illegal" party while in Victoria.

The teenagers, who travelled from Victoria to Queensland and lied to police on their border forms, were today branded "deceitful and deceptive" by Queensland Police.

A police source today said they believe 20 people attended a party hosted by the three women during their trip to Melbourne earlier this month, the Brisbane Times reports.

Victoria Police were called to an address after complaints of a "disturbance" and people at the party were issued with infringement notices.

Queensland's Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said he was confident everyone who attended the party in Melbourne had now been identified.

"So our focus now is working with those young women to identify everywhere that they have been since they have come back into Queensland," he said.

Olivia Winnie Muranga and Diana Lasu, both 19, were identified overnight after travelling together from Melbourne via Sydney to Brisbane. They arrived in the Queensland capital on July 21. The third woman was later identified by police.

All three will women face further formal charges by police for lying on their border forms.

Their activities sparked warnings of a "perfect storm" that could see case numbers rise due to the large number of public places they visited and the size of the households they lived in.

"I am very disappointed with them at this stage, they went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful and deceptive and, quite frankly, criminal in their behaviour and it has put the community at risk," Katarina Carroll, the Commissioner of Queensland Police said today.

She said the fines issued to the women - who had to be identified by Queensland Police with the assistance of Victoria Police - would be renewed and they would have to go before court.

Queensland Police seized the phones of two of the teenagers and they are now being forensically analysed, according to a report from The Australian. Police took the phones over concerns the teens weren't being honest with investigators about where they had been over an eight-day period.

Diana Lasu (L) and Olivia Winnie Muranga (R). Picture: Facebook
Diana Lasu (L) and Olivia Winnie Muranga (R). Picture: Facebook

Queensland reported its first case of community transmission Wednesday, the first in 46 days, after a 22-year-old woman, reportedly a sister of one of the women, tested positive for coronavirus.She is not accused of any wrongdoing.

"What we have seen in these instances are deliberate acts of deception," Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said.

"The way our borders operate cannot prevent that. It is incredibly important that everyone who comes into Queensland, is accurate in terms of the declaration. In this instance, it is not a matter of identity, there is no false identity. It is about not declaring where people have been."

A third young woman, who has not tested positive but is in isolation, was today linked to the two teenagers.

It was also revealed during the press conference that one of the teenagers refused to co-operate with the investigation, which Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said was very concerning.

"I am very concerned about the second individual who has not been cooperative and has not shared with us where she has been," she said.

"So we have not been able to contact those venues and we will continue to work with that individual and hopefully get information.

"That is why I am saying that people should be very cautious if they have got any symptoms at all, doesn't matter where they live, in Brisbane, or indeed anywhere in the state, this is the time to get yourself tested."

Ms Muranga is a cleaner at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, west of Brisbane, and did not self-isolate on her return to Logan, instead working three days at the private school before being later diagnosed with the virus. The school issued a warning to staff and students on Wednesday.

"The staff member was on site last week and then rang in sick and then that's when the trace program started," Principal Gary Cully told The Courier-Mail.

"I think they were onsite three days.

"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."

A number of other staff members are in isolation "as a precautionary measure", Mr Cully added.

Chatswood Hills State School also closed for deep cleaning today after one of the women worked at after school care.

Queensland Health Minister Steve Miles said a massive contact tracing effort was underway around Brisbane and Logan following the actions of Muranga and Lasu.

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

"Our contact tracers are doing that work right now. There is also a number of close contacts in both of their households. They will now be ordered to quarantine.

"They travelled on flights VA 863 and VA977. The Queensland Health contact tracers are identifying close contacts from those flights."

Queensland has seen 1079 people test positive for coronavirus, an increase of three from yesterday after the three woman were diagnosed.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk didn't mince words when she spoke about the state's new cases.

"I'm absolutely furious that this has happened," Ms Palaszczuk said. "These two people have gone to Victoria, have come back and have given misleading information to authorities.

The premier also announced the Greater Sydney region would be blocked from Queensland from 1am Saturday due to ongoing community transmission around the city.

"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.

"It is incredibly important now more than ever if you are feeling sick you must go and get tested."

The Premier pressed the importance of testing. Picture: Paul Beutel
The Premier pressed the importance of testing. Picture: Paul Beutel

 

Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said she was "very, very disappointed" in the actions of the two women and would be moving them to quarantine in hotels.

"I think it was reckless," she told reporters.

"They are in two households. At this point in time they are in their home but I am organising them to go into hotels."

She said a police investigation is underway.

Queensland's deputy police commissioner Steve Gollschewski, said the investigation was still ongoing but "the initial investigation is indicating that there were incorrect details on their declaration passes".

Originally published as QLD virus outbreak teens cop $4000 fine



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