Two Sydney women who flew from Sydney to Melbourne while infected with Covid-19 have been thrown into hotel quarantine and fined $5452 each.
The women were allowed to board QF471 on Monday afternoon despite having the wrong permits. They were not checked before boarding at Sydney domestic airport.
Authorities in Victoria checked their documents when they arrived and discovered the permits they were carrying did not allow them to travel into Melbourne under current restrictions.
In normal circumstances the pair would have been put on a return flight to Sydney but given the time of arrival there were no return flights.
They were transferred to hotel quarantine in Melbourne and tested positive to Covid-19.
Both were handed on the spot fines totalling more than $10,000.
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BREAKING: Victorian COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar says two women who flew from Sydney to Melbourne on Monday (QF471) are positive for Covid-19. Both stopped by police, had wrong permits, moved to HQ and issued $5452 fines. Had they not been stopped… @newscomauHQ
Victoria’s Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said he was “frustrated” that the pair were able to fly without being properly checked and that he does not know what they were thinking.
“What on earth they thought they were doing, I can only speculate,” Mr Weimar told reporters on Thursday.
He said the Victorian Government has been trying hard to “implore” airlines to do the right thing when allowing passengers to travel from red zones but “it is a frustration … it is a waste of everybody’s time.”
Forty-six passengers on the flight have been contacted by the Department of Health and are being tested.
They are all required to stay in isolation for a period of 14 days and get tested again on day 13.
A Qantas plane on the tarmac at Sydney Airport. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian GillesSource:News Corp Australia
“It was a fairly late arriving flight,” Mr Weimar said. “I suspect there was no returning flight to put them back onto.
“We do try usually to put them back on. In this case, a decision was made on the spot to put them into hotel quarantine. I’m glad we did. In this particular place, hotel quarantine was the best place for them.
“We’d have done nobody a service by putting them on yet another plane and back into the Sydney community.”
He said authorities were exploring “testing protocols from red zone arrivals” that would allow people to be tested before flying into Victoria.
“We are looking at whether we can do more on the spot testing at the airport. This is why we have people check whether they are entitled to be here.”
He said the passengers “should not have left in the first place”.
“Our colleagues in Sydney would agree with that.”
Victoria recorded 21 new local cases on Thursday. Of those, 17 are linked to existing clusters and 15 were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.
Melbourne entered its second week of lockdown on Thursday morning.
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