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Regional Victorian family caught in QLD health bungle

Regional Victorians have been warned by Queensland health officials they face mandatory hotel quarantine if they take a shuttle bus from the longterm carpark to Melbourne Airport’s terminal. The hardline order was issued after a Victorian family’s holiday hopes were dashed and they were forced into Cairns hotel quarantine, for taking a short ride on an airport shuttle bus.

Angela Snowden, Lydia Lynch The Australian June 19, 2021

Queensland health officials warned others will face a similar fate if they don’t take private transport to departure terminals at the Tullamarine airport despite rules which permit regional travellers to transit through a Covid-19 hotspot.
The sunshine state’s chief health officer Jeannette Young said on Friday the shuttle bus was classified as public transport and travellers are only allowed to move through hotspots by road using private transport.
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For holiday makers who park in the long-term carpark at Melbourne Airport, this means they will have to walk up to one kilometre with luggage if they can’t catch the courtesy bus.
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Meghan Sleswick — who travelled 2.5 hours by car to get to the airport and another 3.5 hours on a Jetstar flight to Cairns with her partner Aaron Rutter and four-month-old daughter Ivy — vented her frustration in a social media post.
“We flew to Cairns to start our family holiday. Last night we were placed in a mandatory hotel quarantine,” Ms Sleswick posted.
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“Apparently (the airport parking business) is included in the ‘hotspot’ and anyone that stops there is no longer allowed into Queensland,” she said.
“Obviously we would have made other arrangements had we known this would impact our holiday.”
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Dr Young said the family’s decision to catch the shuttle bus was “actually quite a risk” because other passengers were from Melbourne.
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“I have been saying for the last 18 months, if you are in an area that is not a hotspot and you need to travel through an airport that is in a hotspot, you need to go directly [there] not on public transport,” she said.
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“It is very unfortunate for this family, but they will need to be in quarantine, of course they can make the decision to leave and return back to Victoria.”
A Queensland Health spokeswoman pointed out information on how to avoid hotel quarantine is publicly available. Their website said anyone can transit through a hotspot and continue onto Queensland if, for example, they: “drove to an airport carpark and then took private transport to enter an airport and flew home to Queensland.”
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Ms Sleswick said other passengers allowed into the state after they spoke with different contacts at border patrol, but Dr Young said she was not aware of others being allowed into Queensland.
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“They all spoke to different police officers at border security. Unfortunately the woman that checked our border passes worked for Queensland Health and said we could not come in and the other people shouldn’t have been let in either,” she posted.
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“We drove two-and-a-half hours to the airport (with no stops) and spent three-and-a-half hours on a Jetstar flight (packed in like sardines with hundreds of people – how ironic) to be told that catching an airport shuttle bus with five other people is where we’ve gone wrong,” she posted.
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“Locked in a tiny room with a four-month-old baby is not how we expected to spend our holiday. In the meantime we will enjoy this view from our balcony.”
Ms Slewick said the family were likely to be stuck in hotel quarantine for two weeks because flights to Victoria kept getting cancelled.
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The Cairns post reported Aaron Rutter said the family — who are required to pay for the hotel quarantine bungle — planned to visit the sunshine state for his father’s 60th birthday.

 

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