Australian police have issued dozens of fines after a large car rally was held in a Brisbane suburb despite strict coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
Around 150 cars and a large number of people congregated in a warehouse car park for the rally in Rochedale, Queensland Police said in a statement on Sunday.
Outdoor gatherings of more than two people, except for members one household, is prohibited in Australia in an eddort to contain the spread of the disease.
Authorities have asked people to stay at home unless going out for essentials, like groceries, medical emergencies, exercise, work or school.
The police issued 58 infringement notices to drivers and passengers aged between 17 and 30, with each amounting to a fine of 1,334 dollars (800 US dollars).
Police said they were ‘left disappointed and frustrated’ after having to issue infringement notices ‘for failing to comply with a Covid-19 direction issued by the chief health officer.’ Multiple police units responded as many of the cars attempted to flee the area, with some driving across grassland and becoming bogged in the process, police said.
Queensland Police's deputy commissioner Steve Gollschewski, who is also the disaster coordinator for the state, said, such ‘blatant disregard puts all Queenslanders at risk.’ ‘It is inexcusable what happened at Rochedale last night and such blatant disregard for the lives of Queenslanders will not be tolerated.’ ‘This is all about safety. About saving lives. About stopping the spread of Covid-19. We all, every single one of us, must do our bit. We are in this together,’ she said.
In Queensland, there are 907 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with a large majority of new cases found in Australians returning from overseas, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Sunday.
Five people have died due to Covid-19, including a 78-year-old man, a passenger of the Sydney's coronavirus-stricken Ruby Princess cruise ship, who died on Sunday.
Queensland has closed its border with other states. State residents are still allowed to return home and freight traffic is exempt. Others need a government permit to cross the border.
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