A report from the Daily Mail has revealed that NSW allowed thousands of international flight crew to escape security by quarantining at any hotel they wanted – while hundreds of foreign diplomats were allowed to isolate at home.
What special treatment has NSW extended to those categories:
- NSW aircrew arrivals have been allowed to choose which hotel to isolate in
- Aircrew flying into other states have not been given any special treatment
- It is also revealed 900 foreign diplomats have been allowed to isolate at home
Thousands of international aircrew have been allowed to catch Ubers to a hotel of their own choosing to quarantine in NSW, while those landing anywhere else receive no special treatment. The worse part is that earlier this month 13 airline crew members broke self-isolation after arriving on Dec 5 since there was no police or security guarding them and went into town to party
Another disturbing revelation is that hundreds of foreign diplomats have also been given permission to skip hotel quarantine and self-isolate at home, despite two breaching the rules and nine testing positives to coronavirus.
Why do airlines crew and foreign diplomats receive this special treatment from the NSW government, when returning ordinary Australians are forced to hotel quarantine paying a lot of money for it?
Acting Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said “airline staff have been entering Australia and self-isolating since the beginning of the pandemic, with no ‘major issues’ until recently” wait Professor, and think! At the beginning of the pandemic, there were hardly any flights coming into Australia, the flight frequency was increased a few months later to bring Australian’s back home, so let’s make fair comparisons.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed on Friday that a crew member attended several ‘venues’ after breaching isolation rules ‘a few weeks ago’.
Epidemiologist and World Health Organisation adviser Professor Marylouise McLaws said rules that allow airline crews to choose what hotels they isolate at are ‘absolutely not’ strict enough.
‘We are talking about the safety of Australians. If anybody dies of this cluster, then you have to ask yourself, why have we allowed ourselves to be held at ransom by the airlines. Totally agree with Professor McLaws, if an airline refuses to follow government conditions, they should not be allowed to fly into Sydney, it’s as simple as that!
In addition, about 900 foreign diplomats have been allowed to isolate at home since the borders closed in March, why? Do they live on charity and can’t afford to pay the quarantine hotel?
Air staff landing in NSW were also allowed to take taxis or Ubers from the airport as long as they ‘sit in the back seat’, wear a mask, and don’t stop anywhere on the way.
Other states impose stricter quarantining measures that allow for fewer potential opportunities for the virus to leak out.
International airline crew entering Western Australia are treated the same as passengers and must isolate in designated quarantine hotels.
South Australia and Tasmania also follow similar protocols to WA, but Victoria and Queensland have a similar system to NSW.
Ms. Berejiklian on Friday announced a raft of changes to aircrew quarantine, which will come into effect on Tuesday.
Air staff will be forced into two designated quarantine hotels – rather than spread across ’25 to 26′ locations as they currently are.
Sydney’s northern beaches outbreak also prompted Queensland and Victoria to make changes to their hotel quarantine protocols for international aircrew.
They will also begin the use of government-specified hotels with more security and Covid-19 testing from this week.
NSW recorded another 30 cases on Sunday, with 28 linked to the cluster on the northern beaches.
Although the 13 aircrews have not been connected to the cluster, the original source of the outbreak remains unknown.
Genomic testing has confirmed the Covid-19 strain is of American origin and likely entered the country from the United States.
The NSW Premier has reacted promptly, I think this should have been done at the beginning of the pandemic, not after another outbreak explodes after more than 1 month without any community transmission. What about diplomats? Has the premier forgotten them?
Let me know what do you think?
Edited by: Joe Cusmano