A couple from New South Wales, Australia who flew to Melbourne just hours before a rushed border closure was enforced face a A$38,000 fine after they fled from police at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport in an attempt to avoid a compulsory Coronavirus test and 14-day self-isolation requirement.
With a growing cluster of COVID-19 infections in the Sydney area, health officials in the neighbouring state of Victoria decided to reimpose strict border controls over the New Year Holiday leading to a rush to cross the border before it shut indefinitely.
In the run-up to the full closure, Victorian’s returning home had until 12:59am on January 1 to cross the border with only a requirement to take a test and self-isolate until the result came back negative. Anyone returning after that point, up to 11:59pm on January 1 would have to take a Coronavirus test and self-isolate for a full 14-days.
The border was then completely sealed from 11:59pm on January 1.
But a 26-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman who were travelling together and who arrived in Melbourne on a flight from Canberra on New Year’s Day, either didn’t know about the new rules or simply had no intention of abiding by them.
After they were told about the mandatory quarantine and testing requirements, the couple allegedly fled the airport, running from police officers and jumping into a waiting car outside the terminal building.
“They were spoken to by authorised officers and informed they would be required to quarantine for 14 days as per current CHO directions,” a spokesperson for Victoria’s police force explained.
“The pair then ran from the officer, fleeing the airport and were picked up by a vehicle outside,” the statement, which has since been deleted for “operational reasons” continued.
Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley called out the pair on Saturday saying they could be fined at least $19,000 each for breaching public health laws. The couple has apparently now been tracked down, although it’s unclear whether they have yet been forced into quarantine.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.