Coronavirus-infected women accused of lying their way into Queensland are hit with a slew of charges and could be fined $13,345 and spend five years in JAIL
- Olivia Winnie Muranga and Diana Lasu arrived in Brisbane on July 21
- All Victorian residents were banned from entering Queensland from July 9
- Queensland on Thursday recorded three new cases, unrelated to the two women
- But the women allegedly entered the Sunshine State by flying via Sydney
- Three women have been charged for providing false information on declarations
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Three women have been charged by police after they allegedly lied their way into Queensland from Victoria.
All Victorian residents were banned from entering Queensland from July 9, but the women were able to enter the Sunshine State by stopping off in Sydney.
The women allegedly travelled on Virgin Australia flight 863 from Melbourne to Sydney, to make it appear they hadn’t come from Melbourne.
Shortly afterwards they allegedly boarded flight VA 977 to Brisbane.
Ms Muranga and Ms Lasu, as well as one of their immediate family members, on Wednesday became the first three cases of coronavirus in the Queensland community since May.
The test results for the third unidentified traveller who allegedly crossed the border with them have not been released yet.
Queensland Police on Thursday afternoon said three women had been charged for allegedly providing false information on their border declarations.
A 19-year-old Heritage Park woman, a 21-year-old Acacia Ridge woman and a 21-year-old Algester woman were all charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents and fraud.
The women could be fined $13,345 or sent to jail for a maximum of five years.
Police said the trio are now cooperating with officers and Queensland Health officials.
The women are in quarantine and will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on September 28.
‘There is no further information available at this time in relation to the ongoing criminal investigation,’ a statement read.
Olivia Winnie Muranga (left) and Diana Lasu, (right) both 19, arrived together in Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21
The women allegedly travelled on Virgin Australia flight 863 from Melbourne to Sydney, to make it appear like they hadn’t come from Melbourne
The 11 Queensland locations visited by infected pair
The pair took flight VA863 from Melbourne to Sydney and flight VA977 from Sydney to Brisbane, 21 July
Parklands Christian College, Park Ridge, 22-23 July 2020 9.30am-6pm
Madtongsan IV Restaurant, Sunnybank, 23 July 2020 7-9pm
Heeretea Bubble Tea Shop, Sunnybank, 23 July 2020 9.25pm
YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care, Springwood, 23-24 July 2020 All
Primary Medical and Dental Practice, Browns Plains, 24 July 2020 3.30-3.50pm
Thai Peak Restaurant, Springfield, 26 July 2020 6.30-9pm
Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar, Southbank, 27 July 2020 All
P’Nut Street Noodles, Southbank, 27 July 2020 All
African Grocery Shop, Woodridge (Station Rd), 28 July 2020 All
Primary Medical and Dental Practice, Browns Plains, 28 July 2020 12.25-12.30pm
Chatime Grand Plaza, Browns Plains, 28 July 2020
Police previously alleged the women were lying to investigators about their movements.
‘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.’
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll on Thursday revealed 40 people have been caught lying to authorities while crossing the Queensland border.
Ms Lasu (pictured) and Ms Muranga are accused of making false declarations on their border paperwork
‘From the beginning of this, we have issued well over 1100 infringement notices and 40 people have made false declarations at our borders,’ she said.
Ms Carroll said she was ‘very disappointed’ with the alleged behaviour of Ms Muranga and Ms Lasu, and their unidentified travel buddy.
She said the three women have been served court notices.
‘They went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful, deceptive and quite frankly criminal in their behaviour,’ Ms Carroll said.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the pair would face court.
It was earlier reported that one of the women cooperated with Queensland authorities in contact tracing since she arrived back in the state.
The second woman had allegedly refused to share details of her travels over the course of the last week.
‘I’m very worried about the second individual who has not been cooperative and has not shared where she’s been, so we haven’t been able to contact those venues,’ Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said.
Queensland Police on Thursday said the three women who have been charged are now cooperating with QPS and Queensland Health officials.
During the press conference on Thursday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new cases confirmed they made the right decision in closing the borders
Between them the pair visited 11 different venues in Brisbane while infected with COVID-19
Legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers Crime and Misconduct division lawyer Craig van der Hoven said anyone who knowingly transmits COVID-19 without taking precautions could face up to two years behind bars.
Queensland on Thursday recorded three new coronavirus cases, including two linked to a previously identified Sydney cluster.
The pair had dined at the coronavirus-stricken Apollo restaurant and tested positive to the deadly respiratory infection overnight.
They have been praised for choosing to self isolate at home upon returning to Queensland, limiting their risk of contributing to community transmission.
‘We’ve seen that today, its sensible to close the border to anyone from greater Sydney,’ Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young agreed.
The third case was a man in his 20s who returned from the United States.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this is ‘the best scenario we could have hoped for’.
The three new cases are unrelated to Ms Muranga and Ms Lasu.
Ms Muranga allegedly went to work for two days at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of the city, before calling in sick and then going to see a doctor on Saturday, who said to get tested immediately.
She didn’t do so until Monday.
Instead she continued to attend venues in Ipswich and Brisbane, including going to a Thai restaurant in Springfield on Sunday and a Southbank cocktail bar on Monday.
Police have launched a criminal investigation into the women who they claim visited 11 venues in Brisbane while infected.
Authorities have described the border crossing as the ‘perfect storm’. They are examining whether the women visited the Free Pentecostal Church of Australia in Springfield.
All aged care homes in Brisbane’s Metro South region have been ordered to lock down to stop a potential spread as a result of the women’s actions.
Investigators will also probe whether the pair were at party during their stay in Melbourne which was attended by about 20 people.
Ms Muranga works as a cleaner at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge (pictured), which is functioning as a coronavirus testing facility
The gathering was broken up by police, who issued fines totalling $30,000.
Ms Muranga is a cleaner at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge.
The school’s principal Gary Cully confirmed a coronavirus-infected cleaner worked for three days last week.
‘The staff member was on site last week and then rang in sick and then that’s when the trace program started,’ Mr Cully told The Courier Mail.
‘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.’
Shopping centres, restaurants, a school, and a church they visited will shut while authorities scramble to conduct contact tracing.
The incident prompted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to announce all Sydneysiders will be banned from entering the state from Saturday.
People line up in their cars and on foot to get COVID-19 tested at the Parklands Christian College on Wednesday
A man delivers cleaning equipment to a COVID-19 screening clinic at the Parklands Christian College in Logan
‘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.
Queensland residents returning will have to isolate in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.
One of the women attended the Orion Springfield Central in Ipswich, south-west of Brisbane, on Sunday where she dined at the Peak Thai restaurant about 6.30pm.