“Those 115 people we believe have come from COVID-19 hotspots in NSW, so they were turned around,” he said.
“What that does is it demonstrates there are still significant numbers of people who want to come into Queensland and they simply can’t because of where they’re coming from.
“I think we all know it would only take one or two of those people to have come in and be COVID-19 positive and we could potentially have that disease spreading in our community.”
Chief Superintendent Wheeler said a woman from greater Sydney tried to cheat the border system about 5am on Tuesday – an hour before the hard border closure took effect.
“We had a person who approached our checkpoint on the Gold Coast highway, this was a female who had come up from greater Sydney,” he said.
“At first, the person said they had not come up from greater Sydney and gave a different version. Police were really diligent, they checked the story and it wasn’t right, so they refused entry.
“That person then drove to the M1 checkpoint about 10 or 15 minutes later, attempted to gain entry again, but police had already communicated with each other and that vehicle had been flagged.
“The police at the M1 also questioned this person.
“We will allege she gave a false account and she falsely applied for a declaration pass, so she was refused entry into the state and given a $4003 infringement notice.
“I think, unfortunately, what it does show is that people will still try to game the system and put our system to the test.”
Chief Superintendent Wheeler said some people openly admitted they were from Sydney and visiting family in Queensland for Christmas – unaware of the restrictions placed on people from the NSW hotspots of greater Sydney and the northern beaches.
Queensland residents had to get back across the border from NSW by 1am on Tuesday to avoid mandatory hotel quarantine. Chief Superintendent Wheeler said police walked along the queue of cars at the borders in the minutes before the deadline and prioritised Queensland residents.
On Monday, delays were up to two hours at the borders, according to police.
Toby Crockford is a breaking news reporter at the Brisbane Times