Queensland police are now investigating the documents supplied by a man who’s tested positive for the virus on the Sunshine Coast, after he was granted a quarantine exemption.
The man, who originally claimed to be consular staff, was able to return home from Kabul through Sydney, before showing symptoms while quarantining in his own home last week.
Queensland health authorities say they’re still not able to get in touch with two people on the domestic flight, prompting concerns the virus may have spread.
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Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young admits she gave him the exemption, but it was based off a national agreement.
“New South Wales gave an exemption – they had to, because the nationally agreed protocol is that everyone will quarantine for 14 days at the port of arrival.
“So New South Wales gave an exemption to that, so he then flew into Queensland, and I gave him an exemption to quarantine at home, because of that national agreement.
“All of this was done before he left Kabul,” Doctor Young said.
“I don’t think we should allow people to get onto a domestic flight and fly interstate, because we’ve got 14 people we are trying to contact who were on that plane.
“Two of those people have no contact details, the airline cannot tell me how I can get hold those two people, because there’s no requirement for domestic planes to keep contact details.
“We are struggling today, to find those two people, that is why they should quarantine at the port of arrival,” the Chief Health Officer said.
It’s also forced the Premier to reconsider quarantine exemptions, a matter which she plans to take to the National Cabinet this week.
Annastacia Palaszczuk says she’s got police investigating the man’s documentation, but thinks the exemption ‘loopholes’ are too big of a risk, and should be closed.
“My understanding is that the gentleman came into Sydney, and had the DFAT letter, and had an exemption from New South Wales,” the Premier said.
“I’m happy to clarify that for you, but my understand was that it was a New South Wales exemption to leave Sydney to travel to Queensland.
“What I can say, is I understand there was a letter that was provided on DFAT letterhead, that letter plus the letter from New South Wales which granted the exemption, has now gone to Queensland police.
“I’ve asked my department to be talking to DFAT to clarify this, but look I think we are now in the situation where these loopholes have to be closed.
“It’s not too much to be asking people who are returning from overseas to do the mandatory quarantine.
“So if we can fix a loophole, lets have a discussion and see if it can be done,” Premier Palaszczuk said.