Three women who sparked fears of a second wave of coronavirus in Queensland after they allegedly lied their way across the state’s closed borders will remain on bail.
Police allege the women hosted an Airbnb party in a Melbourne apartment despite the city being in hard lockdown at the time and grappling with a devastating COVID-19 outbreak.
Upon returning home, both Lasu and Muranga developed symptoms and were tested for COVID-19, but allegedly carried on working, socialising and dining out at cocktail bars while waiting for their test results.
Haja Umu Timbo, 21, is accused of travelling with both women but never tested positive to COVID-19.
All three women appeared in Brisbane Magistrate’s Court on Monday charged with one count of fraud and deception each.
Olivia Winnie Muranga, 19 (pictured) is accused of lying on her border declarations about where she had been when they arrived in Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21
Haja Umu Timbo, 21, is accused of travelling with both women but never tested positive to COVID-19
Diana Lasu (centre) was granted a bail extension on Monday when she appeared in court
Each of the women arrived at the Roma Street courthouse separately on Monday morning.
Lasu and Muranga sat side by side when they arrived in the court room with their lawyers, while Timbo sat on the opposite end of the room alongside her father.
Lawyers for Lasu and Muranga separately asked the magistrate to adjourn the matters until October 28 to allow time for case conferencing with prosecutors.
He granted the women an extension to their current bail conditions and set the new court date.
Meanwhile Timbo’s lawyer asked for her matter to be adjourned until October 21, and made a point to the judge that the women had been charged separately.
‘It is somewhat connected but they are not charged together, they do not have to appear together,’ she told the court.
Timbo was also granted bail and does not have to appear alongside her lawyer when the matter returns to court on October 21.
After leaving the courtroom, Muranga and Lasu joined their waiting family members and spoke quietly among themselves while waiting to sign their new bail documents.
The defiant mother of Diana Lasu (left) previously sensationally claimed her daughter never travelled to Melbourne and instead pointed the blame at Muranga (right)
Timbo’s lawyer asked for her matter to be adjourned until October 21, and made a point to the judge that the women had been charged separately
A police source has meanwhile alleged the teenagers threw a party (people leaving the party are pictured) for about 20 people at their accommodation in Melbourne earlier this month
Between them the pair visited 11 different venues in Brisbane while infected with COVID-19
Timbo, meanwhile, walked past the group wordlessly to sit with her lawyer and father.
The 21-year-old was the first to speak publicly after being identified as the third woman involved in the alleged COVID-19 health breach.
She denied media reports surrounding the incident but wouldn’t clarify what actually happened.
‘No, but half of the things that are in the media aren’t true, so what can you do,’ she previously told the Courier Mail.
‘I want everything to be confidential. I don’t want to be in the media or my friends to be in the media.’
The women have previously claimed they became the target of vicious trolling when the public learned of their alleged border breaches.
Lasu revealed she received messages which read: ‘Black lives matter, but not yours’ in the days to follow.
‘You dumb, ugly sl*t. Way to f*** it up for Queensland. Everyone hates you, do everyone a favour and drink some bleach,’ another reads.
‘Hope you get deported to where you came from.’
Victoria Police issued infringement notices to all in attendance at the party after being called to reports of a ‘disturbance’
Muranga (pictured) had allegedly gone to work for two days at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, before calling in sick
Lawyers for Lasu and Muranga separately asked the magistrate to adjourn the matters until October 28
Lasu (pictured with her lawyer) appeared in court on Monday where her bail was extended
Some devolve into racist name-calling and attacks on her physical appearance including references to potential cosmetic surgery she may have received.
‘Your lips are bigger than your ego, you selfish b*tch… Looks like your botox injection penetrated into your tiny brain.’
While Queensland avoided a widespread outbreak, the consequences of the women’s actions could have been catastrophic.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young called the pair ‘reckless’ and said she was ‘very disappointed’ that they’d allegedly made the decision to lie and jeopardise the safety of all Queenslanders.
‘They went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful and deceptive and quite frankly criminal in their behaviour and that is what has put the community at risk,’ Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said at the time.
Victoria was in the grips of its second wave – with more than 700 cases identified each day at the peak – while the Sunshine State had almost entirely eradicated the virus at the time.
Footage has emerged of Muranga casually entering the Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar on Brisbane’s Southbank with a friend and ordering a drink
Diana Lasu, 21, (pictured) is one of the young women who allegedly lied on border declarations after touching down in Brisbane on July 21 from a trip from Melbourne via Sydney
Olivia Winnie Muranga (left), 19 and Haja Timbo (right), 21, allegedly and lied on their border declarations about where they had been when they arrived in Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21
But when word spread that the duo had tested positive for the virus, officials feared a second outbreak was inevitable.
Queensland has since experienced small coronavirus clusters, but managed to avoid widespread infections like in Victoria or New South Wales.
There have been reports that three of Queensland’s biggest – and latest – clusters, in Queensland Corrective Services Academy, Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and Ipswich Hospital, can be traced back to the women.
Dr Young said ‘that is the most likely scenario… and even more likely after doing more testing and not finding any other chains of transmission.
But there is a missing link between the women and the cluster, which includes more than 50 cases.
‘We didn’t find the first cases in this cluster, we found a subsequent case and that’s why it’s taken longer to get on top of it.’
INFECTED WOMEN’S ALLEGED ITINERARY
July 21 – Olivia Winnie Muranga flies into Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21 with Diana Lasu and an unidentified friend
July 24 – Muranga, a cleaner, allegedly calls in sick to Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of Brisbane after going to work for two days
July 25 – Muranga goes to the doctor and is told to get tested
July 27 – She finally gets tested, but is spotted getting a drink with a friend within hours at the Cowch dessert cocktail bar on Brisbane’s Southbank
July 27-29 – Muranga is allegedly active in the community again
July 29 – Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces two women who allegedly lied on their declaration forms to enter the state have tested positive for COVID-19
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young called the pair ‘reckless’ and said she was ‘very disappointed’.
July 30 – Three women are charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents and fraud
The trio have been charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents and fraud.
Lasu’s mother earlier denied her daughter did anything wrong, instead pointing the blame at Muranga.
‘She didn’t go to Melbourne, she went to Sydney,’ she told media at the time.
‘I don’t have any apologies for anyone – believe me.’
The mother, who was required to undergo hotel quarantine as a close contact, said her daughter’s friend had been in Melbourne.
‘If you know, yourself, you have the virus – why didn’t you directly go to the doctor?’ she said, referring to Muranga.
Lasu and Muranga were under police guard in Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital after they tested positive, partly for their own protection.
Public outrage only intensified when footage emerged showing Muranga casually ordering a drink at the Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar on Brisbane’s Southbank with a friend just hours after she was tested for the virus.
The venue was one of 11 visited by the women while infectious.
Before that, Muranga had allegedly gone to work for two days at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of the city before calling in sick.
She went to the doctor on Saturday and was told to get tested immediately, but she allegedly waited until Monday to do so.
Muranga’s brother admitted her alleged actions were a ‘mistake’, but claimed she had been unfairly targeted because of her race.
He said his sister waited several days in between experiencing symptoms and getting sick.
‘Some days she couldn’t even breathe out of her airways and s**t,’ he told the program via telephone.
‘It’s a f***ing mistake,’ he said. ‘I reckon if someone else did this that wasn’t of colour, you’ll be protecting them – you wouldn’t be doing all of this s**t.’
The women could be fined $13,345 or sent to jail for a maximum of five years.
Police said the trio are now cooperating with officers and Queensland Health officials.
Lasu received more than 20 messages in 24 hours after she was named as an accused quarantine dodger
Muranga allegedly went to work for two days at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of Brisbane. Pictured are people lining up at the college to get a COVID-19 test after a pop-up clinic was set up
The 11 Queensland locations visited by infected pair
The pair took flight VA863 from Melbourne to Sydney and flight VA977 from Sydney to Brisbane, 21 July
Parklands Christian College, Park Ridge, 22-23 July 2020 9.30am-6pm
Madtongsan IV Restaurant, Sunnybank, 23 July 2020 7-9pm
Heeretea Bubble Tea Shop, Sunnybank, 23 July 2020 9.25pm
YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care, Springwood, 23-24 July 2020 All
Primary Medical and Dental Practice, Browns Plains, 24 July 2020 3.30-3.50pm
Thai Peak Restaurant, Springfield, 26 July 2020 6.30-9pm
Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar, Southbank, 27 July 2020 All
P’Nut Street Noodles, Southbank, 27 July 2020 All
African Grocery Shop, Woodridge (Station Rd), 28 July 2020 All
Primary Medical and Dental Practice, Browns Plains, 28 July 2020 12.25-12.30pm
Chatime Grand Plaza, Browns Plains, 28 July 2020