Thursday, November 04, 2021

Vaccinated doctor forced to sleep on floor of Melbourne airport to qualify for hotel quarantine



A doctor trying to return to Australia from India after her mother's funeral was forced to sleep on an airport floor due to Covid quarantine restrictions. 

Dr Vinu Verghis flew into Melbourne from the Covid-hit country on Tuesday, expecting to stay in a hotel before her connecting flight to Brisbane 17 hours later. 

Her own employer Queensland Health told her though she would be considered a domestic traveller and forfeit her right to a hotel quarantine place if she left the terminal.

Still grieving from the death of her loved one, the Toowoomba Hospital employee spent the night in the Melbourne Airport prayer room next to her mother's ashes.

The 50-year-old claimed Queensland Health officials lacked compassion and told her she was only in that situation because of her own decision to leave Australia during a pandemic.

'I came out of immigration and the staff member told me "this is the choice you made",' the public health masters graduate told Daily Mail Australia.

'How is this my choice? My mother died.'

Dr Verghis, from Moggill in Brisbane's west, said she wouldn't have even had the privacy of an Islamic prayer room for the night were it not for a kind airport worker who saw her crying.

'I am fully vaccinated. I am not adding any further risk whether I am in the airport or in a hotel,' she said.

'We are being held to ransom by the 30 per cent of people in Queensland who are not vaccinated.'

The Queensland Health employee also vented her frustration as she spent the night in the prayer room in a live Facebook video.

'This is my accommodation for the night - this is my bed and my trolley - I will be sleeping there,' she said.

'How is this fair? I am spending 17 hours in this airport because if I leave I am not allowed to go back home.'

A Queensland Health spokesman said anyone leaving Australia during the pandemic should understand 'what is required of them when they return'.

'We know hotel quarantine for overseas travellers works and has kept local transmission in Queensland to a minimum,' the spokesman said.

'This week an overseas traveller tested positive to Covid-19 on day one in hotel quarantine. 

'Last week, several overseas travellers tested positive including one who tested negative on day one and positive on day five.'  

04/11/21 Daily Mail

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