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Further fines for COVID-positive Victorian road-trippers

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A Victorian couple who sparked COVID scares in NSW and Queensland after fleeing Melbourne’s lockdown have had further costs added to their road trip.

NSW Police said on Friday the couple, aged 44 and 48, had been fined $1000 each after breaching public health orders, relating to their journey through regional NSW.

The pair left Melbourne’s outskirts on June 1, while the city was in a coronavirus lockdown. They drove through regional Australia and arrived in Caloundra, on the Sunshine Coast, on June 5 – only for both to test positive to the virus.

NSW Police said the pair travelled along the Newell Highway, visiting a host of businesses, including shops, food outlets, and service stations, in several regional towns.

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They also went to the movies at a cinema in Macquarie Street, Dubbo, on June 2 – described as a “non-essential activity under the Public Health Act” by NSW Police.

The couple reportedly left Victoria so the husband could take up a new job in Queensland – an acceptable reason to leave the lockdown, if they had applied for an exemption. Their COVID infections emerged only when they were both tested as part of the man’s new employer’s requirements.

The woman tested positive to the virus on June 9, while her husband returned a positive test a day later.

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The diagnoses sparked alarm and a spike in testing across regional NSW and Queensland. Exposure sites were named in Gillenbah, Dubbo, Forbes and Moree in NSW, and Goondiwindi, Toowomba and on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

No coronavirus cases were detected as a result of their road trip.

Last week, Queensland Police said they had fined the couple $4003 each for allegedly lying on border declaration passes filled out when they entered the state at Goondiwindi.

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