A mass operation is underway in Sydney, when the first air travelers returned to mandatory coronavirus quarantine two weeks ago are released.
- The first batch of hotel quarantined guests was allowed to leave on Saturday
- Guests received official documentation confirming completion of the quarantine
- It is understood that interstate travelers are facing problems due to cuts in domestic flights.
About 1,300 passengers arrived at Sydney International Airport on March 29 today it will be allowed to leave the hotels where they are staying after a quarantine period of 14 days.
NSW police said they were working with NSW Health, the Australian Defense Force, the NSW Sheriff’s Office and hotel staff to organize the matches.
“A large-scale multi-agency operation is underway this morning, when the repatriation of thousands of travelers returned to mandatory quarantine in hotels in Sydney begins,” the police said in a statement.
Interstate travelers are understood to be having trouble returning home due to limited domestic flights.
The police said they were helping with alternative arrangements.
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There were mixed feelings among the guests leaving the Intercontinental Sydney, with some accepting the quarantine better than others.
Barry Dahms had traveled to London before being quarantined.
He said the quality of the food had been good and received daily checkups from nurses, hotel staff, the police and a psychologist.
“It had to be done,” he said. “There are worse places to spend time than in the golden cage on the 18th floor.
“I’m happy to be out, but I was impressed.”
Mr. Dahms received documentation from NSW Health, confirming his completion of the quarantine period.
Another young woman was helped with her luggage by an Australian Defense Force officer to leave the hotel.
“Okay, the guys were really cool and the hotel was really cool,” she said.
“My room was very big, but I am happy to have fresh air now, very happy.
“I was happy that everyone was safe and didn’t infect anyone.
“It’s only two weeks, you can go through anything, it’s not that difficult. We were fed good food, we had access to Uber Eats, we’re fine.”
“We are a little relieved”
ABC journalist Jarrod Whittaker was quarantined at the Intercontinental with his family after returning from a trip to Chile.
@JarrodWhittaker After sweating last night in the COVID-19 results (which were negative), we left the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney. A huge shout out to the entire hotel, @NSWHealth, police and defense forces team for making the last fortnight as smooth as possible.
He said he was tested for coronavirus after developing a sore throat, but was released to leave after a negative result.
“We are really happy to have finished the quarantine and returned to our home in the regional Victoria region,” he said.
“The hotel staff, the medical staff, the police and the military made the experience very pleasant.”
He said the family’s initial flight to Melbourne today was canceled, but they managed to reschedule the only flight between Sydney and Melbourne.
“So we are a little relieved and looking forward to getting home tonight,” he said.
‘It was just a nightmare’
Another man who left the hotel with his family said the experience was “terrible”.
“The first three days were pretty horrible, actually, because you are no longer having complete freedom to be confined, unable to leave the room and the food is also terrible,” he said.
He said they received microwave meals that his son refused to eat.
“It was just a nightmare … you really felt like you were in prison.”
He said he thought the government had not thought through the quarantine strategy completely.
“We have a house that is completely empty at the moment,” he said.
“We would have been happy to put a bracelet on our ankles and stay at home and have our two-week period at home, but obviously this was not organized by the government.”
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