(Natural News) The government of Australia’s northeastern state of Queensland has launched a new check-in system for its residents’ in-home quarantine, requiring them to answer a randomly-timed text message within 10 minutes. If they do not, police officers will show up at their doorsteps.
The new rules went into effect immediately after they were crafted. They were pushed by the state government of the ruling left-wing Labor Party after health authorities discovered just one new locally transmitted COVID-19 case.
Queensland government demanding to know where residents in quarantine are at all times
On Thursday, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath told residents in-home quarantine that they will receive one text message at a random time at least once a day from her department, Queensland Health.
The message will feature a link that the recipient has to open and respond to within 10 minutes.
Additionally, Queensland Health’s new rules require residents in-home quarantine to keep their mobile data and geolocation services on their mobile phones activated at all times.
This means even if residents respond within 10 minutes, they might still get a compliance visit from the Queensland Police Service if their response was outside an “acceptable geolocation range.”
“This means Queensland Health will be able to ensure individuals in-home quarantine are at the residence they’re lawfully required to be at,” said D’Ath. “It specifically allows authorities to identify if anybody is away from their approved residence.”
The new restrictions will apply to all close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Potential breaches in the restrictions will be assessed by the QPS to identify whether further action is required.
D’Ath justified the system by saying it would “enable real-time monitoring of compliance.”
“For more than 18 months, text messages, phone calls and random inspections for compliance have long been the hallmarks of our home quarantine system, but as the virus evolves, so must our response,” said D’Ath.
Any Queensland resident who violates their home quarantine can be fined up to AU$13,785 ($10,082), spend up to six months in jail and be forced out of their homes and told to go to state-recognized quarantine hotels. They must pay for their mandated stays at the hotels. (Related: MEDICAL POLICE STATE: Elderly Australian couple forced to drive 300 miles to quarantine hotel after filling out form incorrectly.)
New restrictions passed after discovering just one new local COVID-19 case
The Queensland government passed these new restrictions after state health authorities reported one new local case of COVID-19 in the state.
State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Thursday the one local case was linked to a school cluster on the south side of Brisbane.
“That student is in home quarantine and has not been infectious in the community and once again I want to thank all of the families that are still doing home quarantine, they are keeping Queenslanders safe,” claimed Palaszczuk.
The state has two other cases, but they were acquired overseas and have been forced to stay in hotel quarantine.
Following this, Palaszczuk announced that tens of thousands of residents from a city in the neighboring state of New South Wales are no longer welcome after the state recorded one new COVID-19 case.
The city Lismore in New South Wales, which is less than a hundred miles to the south of the Queensland capital of Brisbane, has around 40,000 residents and has been placed under lockdown due to the one positive case.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said anyone who has been in the local government area that includes Lismore within the past 14 days is not allowed in Queensland.
“Those currently in Queensland who have been in the Lismore area in the last 14 days should come forward, get tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result,” she said during a press conference.
While Young’s statement made it sound like a suggestion, QPS will most likely follow up with Queensland visitors from Lismore forcefully if necessary.
“We know the situation can quickly escalate with this virus, which is why it is important we respond appropriately,” added Young. “I understand this is tough for some, but it is necessary in ensuring we can continue to protect Queenslanders.
Learn more about the state of lockdown and quarantine in Australia by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.