Campers fined for breaching COVID-19 health direction

A large group of campers who gathered on a military training ground in Queensland received a wake-up call from the police enforcing COVID-19 regulations.

Officers came across 14 vehicles parked “with people camping together at the site” during a patrol of the Australian Defence Force’s Shoalwater Bay training area in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police say they had earlier received reports of people camping and driving dangerously at Five Rocks Beach, about 100 kilometres north of Rockhampton.

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Three men, two aged 18 and one aged 19, were issued with notices to appear in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on August 19 for trespassing on Commonwealth land.

The teenagers were also issued infringement notices for breaching the Queensland chief health officer’s public health direction, carrying an on-the-spot fine of $1334.50.

“Police will continue to educate and show compassion when engaging with members of the public, however, will take enforcement action if it is determined people are blatantly disregarding public health directives,” police said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

Investigations into the incident are ongoing.

As coronavirus restrictions ease, recreation currently allowed in the state does not include overnight stays, except for those in the outback who are allowed to stay away from home for multiple nights.

Stage one of the state’s road map to easing restrictions, which came into effect on May 15, allows day trips of up to 150km away.

Recreational travel, camping and accommodation including caravan parks falls under stage two and is due to commence on June 12. Camping, to be allowed in national and state parks, will be limited to 20 people.

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has flagged border closures with southern states until September, on Wednesday said the state had recorded one new case of COVID-19 overnight.

The woman is aged in her 70s and lives in Brisbane’s north.

“She returned from India via Singapore two months ago and has now tested positive after developing some mild respiratory symptoms,” CHO Dr Jeannette Young said today.

“At this stage, we’re not sure that is a persistent case or whether she’s acquired it here.

“We think it’s most likely she acquired the case in India but we’ll now have to do a lot of work to work through that – some additional testing and also we’ll have to talk to her and look at contact tracing so all that work has started.”

All of the residents at North Rockhampton Nursing centre have been moved into separate rooms with separate bathrooms, Dr Young said, after a nurse tested positive to COVID-19 last Thursday.

The staff considered at risk of contracting the coronavirus have all tested negative.

As of Wednesday, there were 12 active cases in Queensland including four people in hospital with the infection.

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