Aussies complain about 5-star quarantine

Australia's new quarantine laws for international arrivals are now in force, with anyone arriving in the country from midnight last night forced to isolate in a hotel for 14 days.

Hotels across the country have offered up thousands of rooms free of charge to accommodate these people, with some even getting put up in 5-star hotels.

Some of the 292 former Norwegian Jewel cruise ship passengers are now holed up in Sydney's luxury Swissotel but that hasn't stopped them complaining about the conditions.

 

In a private Facebook group for those quarantine guests at the hotel have complained they have no fresh air and can't receive food deliveries.

Others described cases in which their individual requirements - such as age, parental status or disability - were not taken into account.

 

Picture from inside Swissotel where a number of people have been quarantined. Picture: Supplied
Picture from inside Swissotel where a number of people have been quarantined. Picture: Supplied

 

NSW Police stand guard outside the Swissotel Hotel in Market Street, Sydney. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
NSW Police stand guard outside the Swissotel Hotel in Market Street, Sydney. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP

 

Group member Melissa Ball said her Deliveroo meal order had been turned away from the hotel as it was deemed a health risk by authorities, while the hotel-issued food was poor.

"There are three security guards on each floor, police guarding the entrance to the hotel and NOW we are not allowed to have anything delivered," Ms Ball wrote on Friday. "Prisoners get treated better than we do."

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said up to 3000 people are expected to land in the state today and be put into quarantine.

Of the people who have already arrived, 30 have been placed in high-level isolation due to either feeling unwell or having symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Border Force officials will process new arrivals when they land in the country and the people will then be seen by health officials before being transported to their hotel.

Commissioner Fuller said the arrivals will be treated fairly but they will have to comply with the quarantine rules.

"I know they will be people who are unhappy with the bed, the pillow, the heater, dinner and all those type of things," he said at a press conference this afternoon.

"The reality is they are in a hotel room, and yes, they will be isolated for 14 days. That is for their own protection, the protection of their family members and the protection of the NSW community.

"We can only take and listen to their complaints and try to reconcile them."

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller speaks to the media during a press conference to provide an update on the COVID-19. Picture: James Gourley/AAP
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller speaks to the media during a press conference to provide an update on the COVID-19. Picture: James Gourley/AAP

 

He said all people being quarantined will have access to health treatment and phone lines to call if they need assistance.

"We are doing everything we can to make it comfortable, acknowledging it will not be as good as home," Commissioner Fuller said.

Food and drinks will be brought to the rooms so those in quarantine don't have to leave and they won't be allowed to use any shared facilities such as hotel pools or gyms.

There will be police and army officers on guard at the hotels to ensure nobody breaks the quarantine rules.

Anyone that does will risk copping up to an $11,000 fine and six months in jail.

Authorities are looking into whether they can charge 33 medical professionals who allegedly disobeyed orders to go into quarantine on Friday night.

The medical professionals arrived in Sydney from Chile where they had been on the Roald Amundsen and Scenic Eclipse Antarctic cruises.

It is understood the group defied police orders to quarantine at a Sydney hotel and instead got on domestic flights to different parts of the country.

 

Commissioner fuller said he was "disappointed" in their decision not to immediately quarantine.

"I am disappointed. My understanding is that the orders hadn't been served on them at the time. So we may not be able to issue them with infringements. We are looking at that.," he said.

"But doctors should know better. I mean, we all really know now how serious this is. It is my understanding we have been in contact with everyone and they are all in self-isolation now, back in hotels in Sydney or in their own homes."

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he didn't even "know what to say about those doctors".

"They should have known better. I think they knew they were being given orders that they were being prepared by NSW Health. Dr Chant and her team were up literally all night," he said.

"They knew they were coming and it was bitterly disappointing that they chose to ignore what is a safety measure for themselves and for others.

"They are the people you would expect to know better than anyone else. Yes, bitterly disappointing."

 

Originally published as Aussies complain about 5-star quarantine


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