An Australian flight attendant has been fined $4,135 for helping her boyfriend cross the border between New South Wales and Queensland in breach of COVID-19 rules which limits movements between the two states. The flight attendant’s boyfriend infected her with the highly transmissible Delta variant prompting a health scare across six different flights that she had worked.
The man flew from Sydney which is in the midst of a COVID-19 lockdown to the town of Ballina close to the border with Queensland where he met up with the flight attendant. She then drove him across the border to Tugun and onto Brisbane breaking public health directions.
Although Queensland does allow NSW residents to relocate to the state, all arrivals must come by air and then spend 14-days in managed hotel quarantine. Exemptions for entry by road are sometimes considered but very rarely granted.
After coming into contact with her infected boyfriend, the 36-year-old flight attendant went to work and operated on six regional Qantas Link flights across Queensland. She fell ill a day later but then waited several days before seeking a COVID-19 test.
Around 267 passengers were identified as close contacts of the flight attendant and told to self-isolate for 14-days. All of her work colleagues were also ordered into quarantine over fears of a super-spreader event that risked plunging Queensland into lockdown.
Qantas said in a statement that all passengers and crew are required to wear face masks and after the 14-day incubation period had passed it was confirmed that the flight attendant had not infected anyone else.
The flight attendant’s boyfriend, meanwhile, has been fined $9,648 for breaching COVID-19 rules and abusing health officials.
“After being placed into hotel quarantine in Brisbane, the man allegedly opened the door to his room and verbally abused staff while not wearing a mask,” Queensland Police said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It is alleged after warnings, and with full knowledge of his positive COVID-19 Delta strain diagnosis, he continued to open his door while not wearing a facemask.”
Qantas has been contacted for comment.
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.