A man who allegedly escaped mandatory hotel quarantine in Queensland has handed himself into police after sparking a major manhunt.
The 25-year-old returned to the state from a declared coronavirus hotspot in New South Wales at the start of August and entered quarantine at an accommodation facility in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane.
Yesterday, on the ninth day of his compulsory 14-day stay, the man allegedly snuck out of the hotel, Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski.
He was discovered missing this morning and a significant police response was sparked, Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said.
Early this afternoon, the man surrendered and was returned to the hotel, he said.
“That person was previously charged with some other criminal offences and attempting to get into Queensland unlawfully,” he added.
An investigation into the quarantine breach will now commence.
Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan told Parliament this morning that police are taking the matter “very seriously”.
“It is a very serious matter to breach quarantine and there will be serious consequences for this man as well,” Mr Ryan said.
While the man isn’t considered to have posed a serious risk to public health, as he had previously tested negative for COVID-19, he has been retested and the results will be expedited.
Earlier this month, another Toowoomba man sparked controversy when he allegedly used a loophole to skip mandatory quarantine in the state.
He was a private security contractor working in Afghanistan and flew home to Sydney on July 27 and received a quarantine exemption after claiming he was a diplomat on official Commonwealth business, it’s alleged.
He flew from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast and then drove home to Toowoomba, where he remains in self-isolation.
Queensland remains on high alert after an uptick in cases in the state’s southeast earlier this month, sparked by three women who allegedly lied on their border declarations after holidaying in Melbourne.
They allegedly went about their business in the community for eight days, two of the women while infectious, resulting in the first instances of community transmission of COVID-19 since May.