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Queensland woman fined after scaling balconies, kicking down door to escape hotel quarantine

A Queensland woman has been fined $2,500 after police said she scaled two balconies and kicked a door down to escape hotel quarantine and flee to her mother’s home in Cairns.

The woman, 22, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a public health direction, unregulated high risk activities and wilful damage in Cairns Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

She was initially ordered into quarantine at the Pacific Hotel after arriving in Cairns on a flight from Sydney on Friday.

Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said she escaped from the hotel’s fourth floor on Sunday by scaling two balconies before using an outdoor stairwell.

CCTV footage shows the women then forced her way through a locked door to get outside.

“She’s kicked it in, so she’s fairly motivated,” Mr Gollschewski told reporters on Tuesday.

On Monday afternoon, hotel staff and on-site police realised the woman was missing.

She was later found at her mother’s apartment in Cairns, and co-operated with police.

Mr Gollschewski said the woman told police that she had broken out of quarantine because she wanted to go home to her mother.

“Quarantine can be very difficult for some people, particularly if they’re by themselves, we understand that,” he said.

“Nonetheless, it is a very strict control and the whole point of quarantine whether it’s home or hotel quarantine is not to mix with the community, and this person in order to get out has committed some other offences, unfortunately.”

The woman initially tested negative for COVID-19 when she entered quarantine, but the results of her second test are not yet known.

The court ordered her to pay a $2,500 fine and return to hotel quarantine on Tuesday.

Mr Gollschewski said police had also randomly checked on 1,200 of the 5,177 people in home quarantine, with most people complying.

“By and large the compliance has been very good – it is a reminder for people in home quarantine that you are not permitted to leave unless there is very, very few specific reasons,” he said.

Meanwhile, officers handed out 116 face masks in the 24 hours to 10am on Tuesday and issued two fines to people who refused to wear them.

About 2,385 vehicles had been intercepted by police on the road borders with three turned back, while 1,450 domestic air passengers had arrived in the state with 14 being placed in hotel quarantine.

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