Coronavirus: Dozens of Jetstar passengers left Sydney airport with no screening

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·2-min read

NSW Health authorities are trying to track down dozens of passengers who arrived at Sydney Airport from Melbourne and weren’t properly screened for coronavirus.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told reporters on Wednesday she was aware of “an issue” at the airport on Tuesday night.

Dr Chant added all the individuals on the flight from Melbourne were known as their contact information could be traced from their airline bookings.

“We are in the process of chasing them up,” she said.

Police officers wear face masks as they watch passengers arrive from a Qantas flight at Sydney Airport on one of the last flights out of Melbourne to Sydney.
Police officers wear face masks at Sydney Airport. Source: Getty Images

Victoria Health also has screening before passengers board which includes a temperature check.

NSW Health screens arrivals in Sydney. Health officers on Tuesday night were busy screening another flight as the Melbourne arrivals disembarked and missed them.

The passengers were from Jetstar flight JQ520 which arrived in Sydney just before 7pm and NSW Health said 137 people were on board.

A NSW Health spokesperson said there were “systems in place to ensure additional screening” was conducted and, supported by NSW Police, takes place as passengers disembark.

“Airline staff, contrary to agreed protocols, allowed passengers to leave the gate area before the health staff had concluded screening a prior flight,” the spokesperson said.

“As a result of this breach, flights will now not be allowed to land in NSW until NSW Health teams are in place to screen them.”

Of the passengers, 89 were screened, 45 have been contacted with arrangements for them to be screened, and three remain, including one who refused testing. They have been referred to police.

A Jetstar spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the aircraft’s manifest had been passed on to NSW Health.

“Together with Sydney Airport, we have refined our disembarkation procedures to prevent this situation occurring again,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added staff helped track down those on board.

The border between NSW and Victoria closed at midnight.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Monday the enforcement on border rules would occur on the NSW side “so as not to be a drain on resources that are very much focused on fighting the virus right now across our state”.

The state reported a further 134 cases of coronavirus on Wednesday.

Northern Territory closes border to Victoria

The Northern Territory will keep its borders closed to Victoria “indefinitely”.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner confirmed borders would continue to be closed to the rest of Australia until July 17.

But he said the Top End would “stay closed to all of Victoria, until further notice”.

“They are shut indefinitely,” Mr Gunner said.

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