Three NSW men who allegedly crossed the Queensland border illegally to attend last weekend’s NRL grand final put the state at risk of a Covid-19 outbreak, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has said.
Queensland Police has confirmed it suspects the men drove from Sydney to the Gold Coast on Saturday before attending the 2021 decider at a packed Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
The men – who have all tested negative – were each issued $4135 fines and ordered to return home to NSW.
Camera IconThousands of people packed into Suncorp for the match on October 3. Josh Woning Credit: News Corp Australia
On Saturday it was reported that the NRL Integrity Unit would talk to Penrith star Nathan Clearly as it investigates links between the three men and the club.
Ms D’Ath said authorities were still probing how the men managed to cross the border but it is believed they may have falsified permits to enter the state.
She said travelling from a Covid hotspot to attend the Panthers v Rabbitohs clash put the crowd of about 39,000 in danger.
“It’s appalling not just sneaking across the border but potentially … making false statements in documents as well which is a pretty serious matter,” she said.
Camera IconHealth Minister Yvette D‘Ath slammed the alleged border hoppers. Michaela Harlow Credit: No Source
Ms D’Ath pointed to the 62,000 cases and hundreds of deaths seen during NSW’s crisis showed how a single case can quickly lead to an out-of-control outbreak.
“If that’s not enough of a deterrent, that you are putting every person at risk by travelling across that border … the irresponsibility of walking into a stadium, knowing you’ve come from a hotspot and putting everyone at risk,” she said.
“I am extremely disappointed, and I hope it sends a clear message to other people that this is not acceptable.”
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said breaches such as these raised the possibility of the state going back into lockdown.
“I’m glad that at least they’ve tested negative so they weren’t a risk when they attended the grand final,” she said.
“But yes, it’s very disappointing. And it’s a problem. We know that just one case can lead to a whole series of consequences.”Internet Explorer Channel Network