'I tried not to look': Emotional daughter attends funeral in hazmat suit from afar

A young woman who was initially barred from going to her father’s funeral due to coronavirus restrictions has spoken about how she could only wave to her grieving family.

Sarah Caisip was permitted to leave quarantine in Brisbane to view her father’s body at a private viewing, following the funeral, while wearing a hazmat suit.

Speaking to Brisbane's radio station 4BC on Friday, a day after the funeral, Ms Caisip said it was “really strange” being unable to be with her mother and sister, though getting to see her father, Bernard Prendergast, was “better than nothing”.

Sarah Caisip is seen wearing protective masks as she leaves the site of a funeral for her father.
Sarah Caisip was allowed to leave quarantine in Brisbane to view her father's body, but wasn't allowed to attend his funeral service. Source: AAP

“It was really strange, seeing them in the funeral, that time of saying goodbye I couldn’t even get the support from mum and my sister,” she said.

"It was just like a wave from afar. I tried not to look at them and sort of break down in the process.”

She said her mother and sister are remaining strong and putting up a brave front and she says she can’t wait to see them.

She thanked the radio station for helping get her story attention, and for those who offered support.

"I got to see Dad and that was better than nothing so I really appreciate everyone's support and kind messages through this whole thing,” she told 4BC.

Also speaking to Neil Breen following the funeral was Ms Caisip’s aunt, Jane, who said it was distressing to see her niece donning a hazmat suit for the funeral.

Jane said it was upsetting Ms Caisip could not attend the actual service, especially for her mother and sister.

Ms Caisip had applied for a Queensland border exemption to visit her dying father but it wasn't granted until last Friday, two days after his death. She then wrote a scathing letter to Queensland’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison intervened and pleaded for her to be permitted to attend her father’s funeral, Ms Caisip’s story made headlines around Australia.

The family and friends are seen at the funeral service for Bernard Prendergast, Sarah Caisip's father, in Brisbane. Source: AAP
The family and friends are seen at the funeral service for Bernard Prendergast, Sarah Caisip's father, in Brisbane. Source: AAP

Under Queensland's health measures all of NSW, the ACT and Victoria are considered virus hotspots and visitors must enter quarantine upon entering the sunshine state.

Ms Caisip had relocated to Canberra at the start of this year.

Following her father’s death she tried to get an exemption from quarantine to attend the funeral but was denied.

The state’s Chief Medical Officer has since come under fire for allowing exemptions for well-known artists and celebrities while denying ordinary Australians who have sought exceptions of compassionate grounds.

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