'Added complexity' as police deal with COVID breach teens
Police say they are dealing with an "added layer of complexity" when it comes to the two teenage girls who travelled to the Sunshine Coast from a COVID-19 hotspot without quarantining.
Two teenage girls who returned to the Sunshine Coast from Sydney before the state's borders slammed shut have been taken into police custody for COVID-19 testing, sending hysteria through a Noosa shopping centre and resulting in the closure of a number of stores.
Police Superintendent Craig Hawkins said the two girls, aged 15 and 16, arrived in Brisbane on Friday and made their way to the Sunshine Coast.
One was from Queensland and the other from NSW.
They had come from Sydney which is a coronavirus "hot spot", arriving by train at Brisbane Transit Centre.
"I stress that there is no information to suggest that they are carriers of the disease, however in the interests of safety and because they have come from a hotspot we were keen to ensure that they have undertaken the right testing," Supt Hawkins said.
Supt Hawkins said the girls would likely be charged in time under the Youth Justice Act.
"They certainly could be charged if the circumstances were warranted," Supt Hawkins said.
He said the girls did not tell police where they had travelled from.
"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."
#BREAKING: Two women from New South Wales have been arrested at Noosa Civic Centre and will undergo #COVID19 testing.— Nine News Queensland (@9NewsQueensland) August 10, 2020
Several shops inside the centre have been forced to close.
More to come. #9News pic.twitter.com/Z45k6dlpdY
Supt Hawkins confirmed minors are expected to comply with the CHO directive the same as adults, but the next steps posed a challenge as they could not place children in quarantine without a guardian.
"Because they are minors there are other layers of work we need to do about supervision and guardianship and parental responsibilities that need to be considered," he said.
"I am not talking about prosecution, I am talking about in order to quarantine.
"Obviously we can't put a child in quarantine on their own, so the supervision aspect has to be considered."
Supt Hawkins said the girls had undergone COVID-19 tests at Sunshine Coast University Hospital this afternoon but would refused to confirm their whereabouts since then.
He said he was unable to specify when the test results would be available, but said Queensland Health was dealing with the matter.
He said the girls' guardians had been contacted and were aware of the situation.
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.
The Police Minister says he'll speak with the Police Commissioner around border checkpoints at train stations after two teenage girls were able to circumvent Queensland's tough border restrictions.
Mark Ryan said he would "get some reassurance around what we're doing" after two teenage girls arrived into Roma Street on a Sydney train service on Friday, and did not tell authorities that they had been in the COVID hotspot.
"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.
"I'll speak to the Commissioner to get some reassurance around what we're doing but I can give this guarantee to Queenslanders, we are very proactive, the police are taking this very seriously and the police will continue to have strong compliance action to ensure people who are doing the wrong thing are detected.
"I'll be speaking with the Commissioner just to make sure that we are constantly reviewing, just to make sure that we're doing everything we can to keep COVID out."
Asked what the border checks were for incoming train services, he said: "I'll have to get a bit more information about that."
A spokesman for Mr Ryan later confirmed border checks at train stations are the same as at road borders and airports.
Mr Ryan said police were investigating the circumstances of the girls' arrival into Queensland.
It's believed the girls, aged 15 and 16, were travelling without adult supervision.
"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."