Qld man surrenders after quarantine breach

Queensland will trial COVID-19 testing at pharmacies, with the Health Department to verify results.
Queensland will trial COVID-19 testing at pharmacies, with the Health Department to verify results.

A Queensland man has handed himself into police after allegedly fleeing mandatory coronavirus hotel quarantine in a rural town.

Police began searching for the 25-year-old on Tuesday after he left a Toowoomba hotel on day nine of his two-week isolation period.

"That person has returned into quarantine ... Surrendered himself," Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters on Wednesday.

The man had tested negative to COVID-19 after returning from a NSW hotspot and was not considered a high risk to the community.

Mr Gollschewski said the man would now be retested "to make sure he remains COVID negative and give assurance to the community that whilst he was out there was no spread".

The man has been charged with attempting to enter Queensland unlawfully and will appear in the Goondiwindi Magistrate's Court in September.

Mr Gollschewski said it was the first time a person had fled a police managed quarantine hotel while isolating, and an investigation was underway.

There were no new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the state overnight, with 11 active cases remaining and 11 days since the state recorded a local infection.

The isolation breach comes as police and the NRL investigate a pub lunch allegedly attended by 10 Brisbane players last month.

The group gathered at the Everton Park Hotel on August 1 in potential violation of the NRL's strict coronavirus protocols.

The Broncos said on Wednesday the players were unaware they were breaking protocols under what were relaxed Project Apollo rules at the time.

These allow Queensland teams who haven't played a Sydney team in the past 14 days to dine at cafes and restaurants, but not attend pubs.

Mr Gollschewski said police and health officials were investigating whether there were breaches of health restrictions not covered by the NRL's protocols.

"We have no concerns around the hotel and how it has conducted itself," he said.

"The issue is whether there is evidence of a breach by that group against the chief health officer's directions."

Meanwhile, Queenslanders are set to have access to coronavirus testing from their local pharmacy as the state government urges more people to undergo the swab.

Health Minister Steven Miles says the trial will make testing more accessible.

"Community pharmacies are trusted places across Queensland," he said.

"The pharmacy is often the first place we go when we have respiratory problems."

More than 693,700 Queenslanders have been tested for the virus, with almost 9000 conducted in the previous 24 hours.

Dr Miles said Queensland would continue to rely on methods like testing until there was access to an approved vaccine.

Australian Associated Press