Queensland’s Chief Health Officer has defended her decision not to allow a grieving daughter out of hotel quarantine to attend her father’s funeral.
The State Government faced a barrage of criticism on Thursday, including from the Prime Minister, after denying the young woman the opportunity to say goodbye to her father alongside her family.
Sarah Caisip arrived in Queensland last week after being granted an exemption to visit her father, who was dying in hospital from cancer.
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However, it allegedly took around 20 days for the exemption to be granted, and the young woman’s father passed away while she was still completing her 14-day quarantine in a Brisbane hotel.
Ms Caisip then applied for a separate exemption to attend her father’s funeral in Mt Gravatt at 2.00pm this afternoon, which was denied by health officials.
Instead, Queensland Health is allowing the woman to have a ‘private viewing’ on her own at the funeral home this afternoon, but she will not be able to attend the service with her family.
The 26-year-old, who arrived from Canberra where there have been no cases of COVID-19 in more than 60 days, will be escorted to and from the quarantine hotel to the Brisbane funeral home.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday afternoon, Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said she had no other choice, as funerals are “very high risk” for transmission of coronavirus.
Ms Young said the tough rules are in place due to the ages of most people who attend funerals.
The Chief Health Officer said she made no apologies for protecting the health and well-being of the people in her state.
Ms Young said there are exceptions for people from hotspots to be allowed into the state to attend a funeral, however she confirmed they have to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine first.
It comes after the Prime Minister issued a desperate plea to the Premier of Queensland this morning, begging her to “show some compassion” and overrule the “heartbreaking” decision.
“This is a heartbreaking story, I rang the Premier this morning and I have appealed to her to overrule the decision that would allow Sarah to go to the funeral today,” an emotional Scott Morrison told Nine radio.
“It isn’t about the Premier of Queensland, and me and anyone else… With everything that everyone is going through surely just this once this can be done.
“The only thing that matters today is that Sarah can be with her 11-year-old sister and her mother while they mourn the passing of their father and husband.”