COVID teens' mobile data to be tracked

 

Authorities are analysing the mobile phone data of two women who tested positive to coronavirus after lying about having travelled to Melbourne.

Olivia Winnie Muranga and Diana Lasu are expected to face further action from police regarding their trip to Melbourne and their actions on returning to Brisbane.

Authorities on Thursday morning revealed one of the women was not co-operating with contact tracers regarding her movements around Brisbane.

It is understood police and health authorities are using mobile phone data to ensure they get the full picture of the women's movements since their return to Queensland.

"Unfortunately the second confirmed case has not wanted to let us know where she has been," Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said.

"I don't know where that second case has been.

"I am worried about the second individual who had not been cooperative and has not shared where she has been.

"People should be very cautious ... this is the time to go and get tested."

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said she was "bitterly disappointed" Queensland was at this stage.

"They went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful and deceptive and quite frankly criminal in their behaviour and that is what has put the community at risk," she said.

Olivia Muranga and Diana Lasu travelled to Melbourne and have become the state’s first positive cases outside of quarantine since May.
Olivia Muranga and Diana Lasu travelled to Melbourne and have become the state’s first positive cases outside of quarantine since May.

Muranga and Lasu have already been fined $4000 each after travelling to Melbourne for a holiday and lying to authorities about where they'd been.

The 19-year-olds became the state's first positive COVID-19 cases outside quarantine since May when Olivia Winnie Muranga - a cleaner at the now-closed Parklands Christian College - got a coronavirus test on Monday after days of feeling ill.

The test came back positive on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning her travel companion Diana Lasu also tested positive.

Both women were on Wednesday night fined $4000 for making false declarations on their border paperwork, along with another travel companion, who is awaiting her COVID-19 test results.

A third woman - the 22-year-old sister of one of the COVID-positive girls who did not travel to Melbourne - also tested positive to the virus late on Wednesday, inadvertently forcing the closure of Chatswood Hills State School where she works at the YMCA after school care.

Authorities are bracing for a south-side cluster as contact tracers continue to chart the paths of Muranga and Lasu through Logan and Brisbane while showing signs of the highly-infectious virus.

Parklands Christian College where Ms Muranga worked as a cleaner. Picture: Jono Searle/NCA NewsWire
Parklands Christian College where Ms Muranga worked as a cleaner. Picture: Jono Searle/NCA NewsWire

Hundreds of tests taken yesterday across the region, including at a pop-up clinic at Parklands Christian College, are expected back today and will reveal if the virus has already travelled.

Police have also launched a criminal investigation into how the girls evaded Queensland's strict border restrictions that require everyone to isolate at a hotel if they have been to any COVID hot spots like Victoria.

Part of their investigation will be into how their flights were booked from Melbourne to Brisbane, with a short layover at Sydney airport, and whether they used fake names and contact details on their border declaration passes.

It's also understood authorities are investigating whether the women had been at a party during their stay, broken up by authorities who discovered about 20 people gathered at a short-term rental in Melbourne's CBD and issued them fines equalling $30,000.

It's understood Ms Muranga went to work at Parklands Christian College - where her mother also works - for two days before calling in sick on Friday and visiting the doctor on Saturday, when she was told to immediately get tested.

Instead, she continued to socialise in Ipswich and Brisbane, going out to dinner at a Thai restaurant in Springfield on Sunday and a noodle restaurant and dessert and cocktail bar in Southbank on Monday, according to health authorities.

 

Finally getting tested on Monday, it's understood Ms Muranga was out in the community before her positive test result came back on Tuesday, with customers at the African Grocery Shop at Woodridge and the Grand Plaza shopping centre at Browns Plains warned they may have been in contact with a COVID case on Monday.

Authorities have described the new cases as a "perfect storm", with a large number of public places visited, the girls living in large households of up to 10 people, and authorities working to provide information in various languages to the African Australian community. Authorities are also examining whether the girls visited the Free Pentecostal Church of Australia in Springfield.

Police and health authorities at Parklands Christian College on Wednesday morning. Picture: Tara Croser.
Police and health authorities at Parklands Christian College on Wednesday morning. Picture: Tara Croser.

 

All aged care homes in the Metro South region have been ordered to lock down as a precautionary measure against potential community spread, prohibiting all visitors, instigating temperature checks and prohibiting staff from working across facilities.

At least 15 close contacts of the COVID cases will be kept in hotel quarantine and the infectious girls are at the PA Hospital.

Scores of others from both schools were also last night in home quarantine after being ruled as close contacts of the three positive cases.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there would be a "thorough police investigation".

"I'm absolutely furious that this has happened," Ms Palaszczuk said. "These two people have gone to Victoria, have come back and have given misleading information to authorities.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it was "very, very disappointed" in the "reckless" behaviour of the women who travelled to Melbourne, and implored people to get tested immediately and isolate if they had any hint of symptoms.

Originally published as Identified: Outrage as deceptive teens cause COVID chaos


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