New restrictions have been brought into force in Victoria following a staggering rise in coronavirus cases overnight.
The state recorded 723 new coronavirus cases and 13 deaths in the past 24 hours – the country’s highest daily total so far.
Premier Daniel Andrews said mandatory face coverings would now apply in regional Victoria, as well as metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
The clamp down came as Health authorities in Queensland went on high alert after another three cases of coronavirus were recorded, and police revealed a third woman snuck back into the state from Melbourne with the two ‘virus teens’.
Queensland’s Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the trio had “knowingly and deliberately deceived us” when they allegedly lied about having been in Victoria, adding they’d gone to great lengths to conceal their travels”, said Mr Gollschewski.
“One of the first two women has been cooperative, the other has not. We are still working with the third person (to ensure contact tracing).
“We know these three young women have all gone to Victoria where they have been exposed to COVID. They will all go towards the court, and charges will be formalized today.”
In NSW, another 18 cases were diagnosed overnight.
Premier Andrews said at a special press conference: “Today, and in line with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, I can announce that same requirement will apply across regional Victoria,” he said in a statement.
“That means from Sunday 2 August at 11:59pm, a face covering will be mandatory whenever you leave home – and wherever you live.
“I understand this will a big step for some. But by covering your face, you’re protecting your community, and protecting those extra freedoms your community enjoys.
“By covering your face, you’re keeping local businesses open, and keeping local people in work.”
Likewise, from 11:59pm tonight, and in the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe, residents will no longer be able to visit people or have visitors at home.
Mr Andrews said 13 people have died overnight – they are three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s.
Some 312 Victorians are in hospital, 34 of those are in intensive care.
There are a total of 913 active cases in aged care.
Katarina Carroll, the Commissioner of Queensland Police said the three teenagers being dealt with by went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful and deceptive “and, quite frankly, criminal in their behaviour and it has put the community at risk”.
She said the fines issued to the women — who had to be identified by Queensland Police with the assistance of Victoria Police — would be renewed and they would have to go before court.
Queensland Police seized the phones of two of the teenagers and they are now being forensically analysed, according to a report from The Australian. Police took the phones over concerns the teens weren’t being honest with investigators about where they had been over an eight-day period.
“What we have seen in these instances are deliberate acts of deception,” Deputy Police Commissioner 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.”
A third young woman, who has not tested positive but is in isolation, was today linked to the two teenagers.
It was also revealed during the press conference that one of the teenagers refused to co-operate with the investigation, which Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said was very concerning.
“I am very concerned about the second individual who has not been cooperative and has not shared with us where she has been,” she said.
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