NSW police “wrongly” allowed German mother and son to leave Sydney Airport
A German woman and her teenage son, who arrived in Sydney on Saturday, were allowed to bypass the hotel quarantine and board a flight to Melbourne after informing police that they had an exemption.
NSW police took the blame for the incident in which the couple left Sydney’s international airport – which is heavily guarded by police and military – and entered the domestic airport without being led directly to the hotel quarantine with other arrivals from overseas.
Jeff Loy, Assistant Commissioner of NSW Police, said that a “language barrier and communication problems” had led a police officer on his second shift in the role to falsely believe that the couple had an exception to the hotel quarantine.
This is the second violation of the state hotel quarantine system this month after a cleaner at the Novotel in Sydney’s CBD tested positive for the virus last week.
NSW recorded no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
Five cases were reported in overseas travellers, bringing the total number of cases in NSW since the start of the pandemic to 4,421. pic.twitter.com/CK5TOLy0i4
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 6, 2020
“The policeman has admitted his mistake,” said Deputy Commissioner Loy. “He should have made it clear that he accepts that… We will own the mistake and we will move forward.”
The mother and son, who are both nationals, flew from Tokyo to Sydney International Airport on Saturday at about 9:45 a.m. on a flight where they were checked by NSW Health and instructed to board a bus with their fellow passengers to be quarantined.
Instead, they had a conversation with a young police officer and were waved through to the domestic terminal without showing their documents.
“During this conversation there was a misunderstanding and lack of communication,” said Deputy Commissioner Loy. “The policeman thought that there was indeed an exception.”
The couple had already checked into their domestic flight online and received their boarding passes, so there were no further security checks before boarding a Virgin flight to Melbourne.