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Australia Police crack down on truck drivers from COVID-19 hotspots crossing Queensland border

07:27  19 july  2021
07:27  19 july  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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A truck driver from a COVID-19 hotspot who tried to enter Queensland with falsified documents has been placed into hotel quarantine.

The state recorded no new locally acquired coronavirus cases today, but authorities have toughened up border checks for truck drivers at the weekend.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said 29 drivers who had come out of known hotspots were intercepted at the Queensland border on the weekend.

He said one of those was placed into quarantine.

"That particular driver had completely falsified records, was not cooperative with our investigation and in fact had come out of a hotspot," Mr Gollschewski said.

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"All the others — it was a matter of working through with them and making sure they had the appropriate pass because they did have an exemption under the [Chief Health Officer's] direction."

Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said the onus is on drivers and that police will be moving from an "educating and monitoring" approach to "engagement and enforcement".

"This operation will continue for the foreseeable future until we can get the compliance we need out of this particular sector," he said.

Freight drivers need to be tested: Dr Young

While border restrictions remain unchanged for Queensland, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said authorities were concerned truck drivers had "lapsed" in complying with the rules.

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Dr Young said an agreement was made with the freight industry to have drivers tested "every seven days" to allow trucks to continue.

Queensland police launched an operation over the weekend and found 83 of 226 heavy vehicle drivers entering the state did not have the appropriate passes.

"I can understand why that has lapsed when there weren't any cases anywhere in Australia," Dr Young said.

"It's important that that requirement is immediately back in place so that any freight driver that arrives in Queensland from any declared hotspot … has been tested."

The tightening comes after two removalists travelled from New South Wales to South Australia via Melbourne while infectious earlier this month.

The cases led to a statewide lockdown of Victoria that will be extended beyond tomorrow night.

Dr Young said Queensland Health is working with freight industry stakeholders to make sure truck drivers follow health directives.

Truckies flout COVID rules on Qld border

  Truckies flout COVID rules on Qld border More than 80 drivers were found without valid passes on Queensland's border over the weekend, with 29 of them arriving from a declared hotspot.Police intercepted 226 heavy vehicles over the weekend operation, 83 of which did not have a valid border pass.

She said any driver who has been in the NSW local government hotspot areas will need to give evidence of a negative result before entering the state.

No community cases in Queensland a 'fantastic result'

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said at this point there were no changes to the New South Wales/Queensland border.

"So far there has been no transmission outside of the local government areas that we have declared a hotspot in NSW", Ms D'Ath said.

"Also, there has been no positive sewage results outside of the local government hotspots."

Ms D'Ath said the sewage and community transmission results are "two critical factors" that meant "the risk at this stage is contained within the LGAs we have already identified".

"We know putting in place a physical hard border on the NSW/Queensland border is very logistically difficult [and] impacts significantly on those border towns," she said.

"We will only do this if we absolutely have to."

Ms D'Ath said Queensland Health is monitoring NSW "every single day".

The state recorded two cases in hotel quarantine among international arrivals, but no new cases were found in the community, which Acting Premier Steven Miles said was a "fantastic result".

"[It] follows a weekend where we also had no new locally acquired cases," he said.

There are 36 active cases in Queensland.

Mask-wearing and restrictions continue will remain in place for some South East Queensland regions until later this week.

[Zendesk COVID form embed]

Passenger trapped after truck crashes into bus in NSW Blue Mountains .
Emergency service crews are on the scene of the accident on the Great Western Highway in the Blue Mountains.The accident occurred around 7.30am when a truck crashed into the bus on the Great Western Highway at Lawson.

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This is interesting!