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Australia Police warn Greater Brisbane residents face hefty fines if attempting to flee lockdown ahead of Easter holiday period

10:22  30 march  2021
10:22  30 march  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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a car parked in a parking lot: An exodus of people leaving Brisbane in the hours before the lockdown came into effect has prompted a stern warning from authorities. (ABC News) © Provided by ABC Health An exodus of people leaving Brisbane in the hours before the lockdown came into effect has prompted a stern warning from authorities. (ABC News)

Queensland police are warning residents of Greater Brisbane they risk a $1,334 fine if they try to travel out of the region to Easter holiday destinations before the COVID-19 lockdown period ends on Thursday afternoon.

Authorities have also reserved the right to extend the lockdown if case numbers continue to rise.

A three-day lockdown was ordered by Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young on Monday after health authorities revealed a COVID-19 cluster involving the highly contagious UK strain had grown to seven people.

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On Tuesday morning, 10 more cases of COVID-19 in Greater Brisbane were confirmed, eight of them locally acquired.

The lockdown applies to residents of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Redlands and Moreton Bay council areas.

However, in the hours before the lockdown commenced, traffic was heavy on the motorways heading north and south from Brisbane, suggesting many residents left the region ahead of the restrictions.

On Tuesday morning, the main street of Noosa Heads was busy with visitors and only about half of them were wearing masks, despite a state-wide mandate for masks to be worn in all public spaces across all of Queensland.

The ABC understands there was also a higher than normal volume of cars and caravans travelling south on the M1 between Logan and the Gold Coast between 3:30am and 4:00am on Tuesday.

Brisbane's lockdown is almost certain to be EXTENDED through Easter

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A police spokesman said these could have been interstate visitors heading home and that so far, no fines had been recorded for breaching the lockdown direction.

Council-owned caravan parks on the Gold and Sunshine coasts have been advised to refuse requests for entry from anyone in Greater Brisbane during the lockdown period.

'Expect to be intercepted'

Speaking at the morning COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said it was important people in the lockdown zone knew what was required of them.

"It's very important that our community understand that if they're planning to travel for events over the Easter weekend, even though we may not be in lockdown then, you cannot travel for that purpose in the lockdown period," Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said.

He said people cannot travel unless it is for one of the following four key reasons:

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  • obtaining essential goods or services, including health care
  • exercise
  • attending essential work or child care
  • assisting vulnerable people

Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said police would be out in high numbers ensuring people complied with the rules during the lockdown period.

"There's no ring of steel around Brisbane at this stage," he said.

"We're working with our community, we are doing intercepts, we're being very high visibility on the roads.

"[But] people can expect to see that, we want to keep people safe on the roads as well so there will be plenty of police out and about and they can be expected to be intercepted at times."

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How the royals spent Easter .
Easter is up there with Christmas in terms of royal watching opportunities. The British royals in particular put on quite the spectacle as they don their glad rags for the annual Easter service at Windsor. This year, things looked a little different - though no less special. There was never any doubt in our minds that Easter 2021 would be quite different for many people in the Northern Hemisphere. As the UK and much of Europe remains in various states of lockdown, or under strict social distancing restrictions, so too do their corresponding royal families.

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