Queensland has loosened its strict social distancing measures aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus but has still been forced to hand out whopping fines, costing those who have flouted the rules more than $2 million so far.
From Saturday, residents could travel up to 50km from their home to shop, visit a park or even go to the drive-in and residents flocked to the beach as the sun shone down.
However, they could only move about with members of their household and they also had to retain social distancing measures.
Yet police still handed out 32 on-the-spot fines for $1334 on Saturday. So far 1664 on-the-spot fines for COVID-19 related infringements have been issued, totalling more than $2.19 million.
Elsewhere, Victoria is not expected to relax its measures to suppress the spread of coronavirus before its state of emergency is due to expire on May 11. Victoria Police issued 46 fines to people breaching coronavirus restrictions in the 24 hours to Saturday at 11pm, after completing 853 spot checks.
Queensland has again recorded just one new case of coronavirus as the state embraces its second day of stay-at-home restrictions being eased.
Health Minister Steven Miles announced on Sunday that the total was now 1035 confirmed cases with 976 having recovered from the virus.
He said Queensland Health had purchased an additional 35 anaesthetic machines to deal with a worst-case scenario like New York.
“We ordered these machines as part of our surge planning when we were anticipating the worst and Queensland could look like New York City today,” Mr Miles said.
“We are fortunate it doesn’t and were are going to continue that planning, so if the worst happens and we do have an outbreak … we can ensure every single Queenslander can access the care that they need.”
Queensland’s first day of ‘freedom’, on Saturday, was not without its problems with police issuing more than 30 infringement notices for breaches of COVID-19 directions.
Meanwhile, passengers on a Qantas flight to Brisbane were being urged to contact Queensland health officials after one person was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Passengers on flight QF614 from Melbourne to Brisbane on April 22 are being told to call 13 HEALTH to speak to officials, who will ask about their health and give some advice.
“We ask that passengers seated in rows 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 of this flight, who have not already been contacted by Queensland Health call 13 HEALTH and advise that you were a passenger on this flight,” a statement from the health department said.