‘We’re not even halfway’: More Qld lockdowns likely
Police have called on Queenslanders to pay more attention to social distancing habits, warning there would likely be more lockdowns should coronavirus spread from interstate hotspots.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said Queensland was probably less than halfway though its pandemic emergency response and that police had planned for it to continue well into the future.
Mr Gollschewski said police would once again be focussing on nightspots over the weekend following "disappointing" incidents where patrons have hit dance floors or crowded into lines.
"On the 29th January, the emergency declaration for health response in relation to COVID was declared in Queensland," he said.
"So we are now only a few days away from six months of emergency response in relation to the pandemic in this state.
"I think its fair to say that as we stand before you today, Queensland is in an excellent position because of all the hard work that has been done right across this state.
"Not only by our community - because of how seriously they've taken this... but also, by all of our emergency services, our health workers, our volunteers and in particular our police."
Mr Gollschewski said it was important to remain vigilant as other states experience significant outbreaks.
"Can I just start by reminding everyone in Queensland that this is not over. Were six months in. We're probably not even halfway through this response to be really honest," he said.
He warned border controls could not be "100 per cent effective all the time" and that the safety of Queenslanders were dependant on people doing the right thing.
Police have urged drivers to regularly update their border declaration pass, with motorists now getting electronic notifications that their pass was about to expire.
Passes should also be updated when new hotspots are declared to streamline border crossings.
More than 913,000 border passes have been applied for since July 3.
"Do the right thing," Mr Gollschewski said.
"There are serious implications if you don't do the right thing.
"We're still seeing a very small minority who either deliberately or recklessly decide that they will try the system on to get into the state...
"There are serious penalties for this ... $4000-plus fines for making a false declaration trying to get into this state."
Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler, who is in charge of Queensland Police's border response, warned drivers there would be delays when the new Sydney hotspot of Fairfield came online at 1am on July 27.
"The reality with this situation is we actually need to elevate our vigilance, even more to stop the spread of COVID-19 into Queensland," he said.
"Since midday, July 10, to 4pm yesterday, on the Gold Coast checkpoints, we've stopped and turned around over 560 people who would have entered our state.
"These people were either directly from hotspots or they'd been in a hotspot in the 14 days previous or they couldn't prove to us they had not come from a hotspot.
"And of course, any one of those people, had they have gotten in, could have caused transmission in our state."
He said anyone lying to get into Queensland could be hit with a $4000 fine.
"We've seen examples recently, we removed a 42-year-old man off a bus a couple of days ago in Coolangatta, that person had come directly from a hotspot in New South Wales.
"We removed and refused entry to the state to that person.
"We will allege that that person then went and got a border declaration, made a false declaration, got back on a bus and was intercepted some hours later, removed and fined.
"And of course, that person was shown the back door to our state."
Originally published as 'We're not even halfway': More Qld lockdowns likely