NSW Health has revealed two passengers from a flight from Melbourne that arrived in Sydney without screening are still unaccounted for.
NSW Health has revealed two passengers from a flight from Melbourne that arrived in Sydney without screening are still unaccounted for.

Two passengers are missing and one is refusing virus test

NSW Health has blasted airline staff for breaching protocols that saw passengers disembark a flight from Melbourne to Sydney without undergoing proper health screening for coronavirus symptoms.

It comes as more details are revealed as to how the passengers walked away so freely.

The situation left 48 passengers uncleared in Sydney and while most have been contacted and made arrangements for screening, three passengers - along with one who has refused to be screened - have been referred to NSW Police.

Eighty nine of the 137 passengers on flight JQ520 were caught, screened and cleared before leaving Sydney airport after officials "acted quickly" and intercepted them before they made it into the city.

Health authorities were quick to call out for the remaining passengers after it was discovered the Jetstar flight on Tuesday night allowed them to enter Australia's most populous city without any of the appropriate health checks.

A Jetstar spokesman told NCA NewsWire that crew assisted health officials, who were reportedly not present at the time the plane landed, by locating passengers in the terminal.

The airline also provided the aircraft manifest to the department to assist them in contacting passengers who were not found in the terminal.

Nine's Chris O'Keefe said the flight arrived at the same time as another aircraft from Melbourne and officials "were busy" health screening the first plane when the passengers from JQ520 disembarked.

A statement from NSW Health to news.com.au confirmed all passengers on flight JQ520 were screened "in advance of leaving Victoria".

Passengers are required to be screened additionally on entry to NSW by NSW Health, supported by NSW Police.

This process usually begins after health officials arrive at the gate and signal to plane crew they are ready to receive disembarking passengers.

Under new protocol at Sydney Airport, planes will not be able to pull up to the gate before NSW Health officials are ready.

"Airline staff, contrary to agreed protocols, allowed passengers to leave the gate area before the health staff had concluded screening a prior flight," NSW Health told news.com.au.

"As a result of this breach, flights will now not be allowed to land in NSW until NSW Health teams are in place to screen them."

A Jetstar spokesperson said: "Together with Sydney Airport, we have refined our disembarkation procedures to prevent this situation occurring again."

Quiet scenes at departures at Sydney's domestic airport on Tuesday. Picture: Jeremy Piper
Quiet scenes at departures at Sydney's domestic airport on Tuesday. Picture: Jeremy Piper

The screening process usually includes a temperature check and passengers are asked questions surrounding any symptoms linked to the coronavirus.

Any passengers that have travelled to any hot spot areas in the past two weeks are also flagged and their documents and address is checked.

If any one expresses symptoms they are tested and moved into self isolation

The NSW Government introduced new laws on Tuesday night prohibiting anyone from Greater Melbourne travelling into the state.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said the government was "in the process" of chasing up the passengers.

"If anyone is found to have travelled in breach of any orders we'll refer them to police and take the appropriate action, depending on whether anyone is symptomatic, to ensure the community is protected," she said.

Originally published as Two passengers missing, one refusing test


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