Two international travellers are now in mandatory quarantine in Victoria after flying into Sydney on Saturday and dodging hotel quarantine before flying to Melbourne.
The travellers, who were reportedly German, were required to quarantine for 14 days in Sydney before flying to Melbourne but managed to board a domestic flight without undergoing quarantine.
A spokesperson for Virgin Australia confirmed the two passengers travelled on VA838 from Sydney to Melbourne on 5 December.
“Upon being informed these guests had travelled on our aircraft without entering hotel quarantine, we removed the aircraft from service to perform a deep clean, as a precautionary measure,” the spokesperson said.
“We have passed on the passenger manifest to the relevant health authorities to assist them in contacting the passengers on the flight, and we have been in contact with the crew operating the flight.”
The spokesperson said Virgin has been in contact with NSW Health to determine how the passengers were able to enter the country without going into hotel quarantine.
Victoria’s Health and Human Services (DHHS) has launched an investigation including full contact tracing and testing.
DHHS is urging anyone who travelled on Virgin Australia flight VA 838 from Sydney to Melbourne departing from Sydney midday and arriving in Melbourne at 1:25pm on Friday should immediately quarantine at home and contact DHHS on 1300 651 160 for further information.
Anyone who has been at the Melbourne Airport Terminal 3 on Saturday afternoon is advised to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and to seek testing if symptoms develop.
DHHS said Melbourne Airport is not a current risk to the public.
Australia’s Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, told Sky News that more information about how the passengers made it to Melbourne without quarantining will emerge once Border Force has worked with NSW.
“On this occasion, it was still contained within that first [of three] ring but at one of the outer layers,” Hunt said.
“And I think it’s important just for the public to have that understanding of how we’ve devised and developed this. This is how Australia’s being kept safe.
“But, there’s always risk when we’re dealing with overseas and our task is to have these different layers or different rings of protection, and it’s worked here but at one of the next steps out within that set of protections for Australia.
“So, still protecting Australians, multiple failsafes, one of the failsafes was called into action here.”
Both travellers have tested negative for COVID-19 but will be tested again on Monday, Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley said, according to ABC News.
If the passengers test negative, all close contacts will be allowed to end their self-isolation.
Featued image source: iStock/jimfeng