There wasn’t a dry eye in the TODAY Show studio, and likely in the living rooms of thousands of Australians this morning, after a man revealed live on air that his mother had died while he was stuck in hotel quarantine.
Queensland man Anthony McCormick, who is now living in Canada, shared the heartbreaking news with hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon on Thursday.
It comes after the Queensland Government reportedly denied him permission to enter the state to say goodbye to his dying mother, despite being given the all clear by the NSW Government to leave quarantine in Sydney.
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“We had no idea Anthony, we were hoping to help get you out to see your mum in time,” host Allie said through tears.
“It is awful man, the pain you are feeling right now, we’re feeling a tiny bit of it and we didn’t even know your mum,” Karl added.
“We are so sorry.”
A visibly emotional Mr McCormick said his mother, who was only diagnosed with cancer three weeks ago, was heartbroken she couldn’t see her son one last time.
“Thought we might get another week. Sort of the end of the road there. She was very upset that I couldn’t get in there and see her,” he said.
“That was really what she was hanging on for.”
The Cairns man, who rushed back to Australia from Canada two days ago, said he has now been left to grieve for his mother all alone in quarantine.
“The situation is I’ve got 12 days in this room now to sort of process this thing on my own,” he said
“I would have been far better off staying in Canada, to be honest, where my wife is, freedom to get outside and so forth.
“There’s no context here… There’s no feedback. I can’t touch anyone. I can’t see anyone. Beyond the odd sort of call. It’s just me and these four tiny walls for the next 12 days.”
DEVASTATING: Anthony McCormick did everything he could to get home to Australia and be by his dying mother’s side. However, despite being allowed to leave NSW, he was denied entry into Queensland and his mother tragically passed away last night without him. 💔 #9Today pic.twitter.com/lS7bQUk4im
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) July 7, 2021
Mr McCormack slammed Queensland Health for what he described as a “lack of “compassion”.
“NSW Health were amazing, they had proactively called me before I even got on the flight, they had an exemption plan laid out and while I was on the flight they’d actually executed it,” he said.
“Queensland Health on the other hand were silent. It wasn’t until I landed I had to start chasing them up to get things moving.
“I didn’t get a single call from Queensland Health I don’t recall, yet NSW Health were constantly on the phone to me calling the hotel room.”
Speaking to reporters this morning, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said it was a “tragic situation”.
“He only arrived in Sydney on July 6 and we have been working with the NSW authorities to look at what could be done to assist him,” Dr Young said.
“We were working with them, he only just arrived unfortunately… This is absolutely tragic that he has lost his mother so quickly.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk defended her Government, saying the case was “actually in the hands of NSW Health”.
“They were progressing a test that he needed to complete, and then they were working with Queensland, so it was at the New South Wales stage,” The Premier said.
“I’m not apportioning blame here or anything, it is a tragic situation… it would have been so nice if it didn’t happen, but unfortunately it just didn’t.
“We are 18 months into a world pandemic… We don’t know who is going into hotel quarantine, who has the Delta strain, we have to test.”