A search was underway overnight to locate a couple from NSW that allegedly fled Melbourne Airport after arriving on New Year’s Day.
The 26-year-old male and 24-year-old woman arrived in Victoria on a flight from Canberra about 11am Friday (local time) and are believed to be in the Sunbury area, northwest of Melbourne, Nine reported.
The pair allegedly fled the airport after being informed of the mandatory 14-day coronavirus quarantine rules for people entering the state from NSW.
Those arriving from a NSW Green Zone on January 1 were required to get tested and isolated until a negative result is received, while those in other areas needed to isolate for 14 days.
The couple reportedly ran from officers and were picked up by a car outside the airport and driven away.
“They were spoken to by authorised officers and informed they would be required to quarantine for 14 days as per current CHO directions,” Victoria Police said in a statement, reported by Nine News.
“The pair then ran from the officer, fleeing the airport and were picked up by a vehicle outside.”
The statement was later removed for “operational reasons,” police told Yahoo News Australia.
Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley described it “a very serious matter,” during a press conference updating the state’s coronavirus figures on Saturday morning.
“I did want to make particular mention of two people who absconded from discussions with authorised officers yesterday who have now apparently returned to Goulburn in New South Wales,” Mr Foley told reporters.
“Upon the advice of the public health team, those people have breached numerous orders of the public-health state of emergency in Victoria and they will each be fined at least $19,000 for their breaching of those arrangements.”
Combined, the pair could be forced to cough up $38,000 for the effort.
Police were understood to have tracked them down, with an update on the situation expected later today.
It comes as 10 new cases of coronavirus were reported for the state heading into the weekend as Victorians flooded testing sites after rushing home from interstate.
Thousands cut short their NSW holidays and joined a mad rush to get back to Victoria ahead of the border shutdown.
The southern state's border decision on Thursday prompted traffic bottlenecks as people raced to beat the Friday midnight closure.
Covid-19 testing sites saw long queues as travellers lined up for mandatory testing.
In Queensland, a second case of the South African variant of Covid-19 has been confirmed in a recently returned overseas traveller.
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