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- Australia, branded as 9 News
A Victorian couple say they were made to feel like criminals after a nightmare ordeal forced them to drive 500km to a city hotel quarantine.
Robyn Anderson, 67, and Robert Legg, 60, told Nine News they were granted permission to move from Melbourne to Roma on July 16 as Queensland closed its borders to Victoria.
They started a 14-day quarantine in their home, but after four days they were told their declaration forms had been filled out incorrectly.
The couple were told they had to go to a quarantine hotel in Brisbane, which is about 500km east of Roma even though they had not returned Covid test results from Roma Hospital.
They claim they were also given a five-hour deadline to get to Brisbane despite reportedly telling police they had concerns over their car making the journey.
Adding to their anguish, they broke down in Toowoomba and claim police told them they would not be able to provide assistance. Police did eventually provide help, after calls from Nine News, and Ms Anderson and her partner got a taxi to Brisbane where they later returned negative tests.
They were given the OK to leave quarantine but were then ordered to return to the hotel where they remain.
"It's like you're a criminal and you're locked up somewhere, and you can't get out," Ms Anderson told Nine News.
The cost of hotel quarantine, fines and having the car towed is expected to cost them more than $14,000.
Chief Health Officer stands by 'critical' process
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young was asked how she felt about the process the couple went through on Tuesday, to which she replied she is “very comfortable” with it.
“We don't need test results,” Dr Young told reporters.
“Test results are too late. Please – no one out there rely on test results. It's our job to get test results. Until anyone gets a test result. They need to isolate themselves.
"They can do that in a car, on a drive, of course they can, if that's what they've been directed to do."
She added isolating and quarantine are “critical”.
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Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said he was aware of the incident and investigating it further.
“There's a process we've been using all through the pandemic because of the large numbers of people we have, this is done in collaboration with Queensland Health in terms of ensuring we can get people into quarantine the most effective way,” he said.
“One of the things we have in our system is we place great trust in our community and their honesty and their ability to work with us.
“So yes, of course there's instances where people are given directions and asked to go there and there's conditions put around that. That's been happening consistently though. That's the process. The individual circumstances of this case, I need to get a full briefing on it.”
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