Three removalists who were found to be in breach of Public Health Orders after travelling to NSW for work while infected with Covid-19 have reportedly defended the act saying it's not their fault.
The three men, identified by the Daily Telegraph as Roni and Ramsin Shawka, 27, and Maryo Shanki, 21, from West Hoxton in southwest Sydney, were nabbed after travelling through regional NSW to Molong, in central western NSW, on Friday.
The trio and another man who hadn't tested positive also stopped in Figtree, South Bowenfels and Orange along the way.
Police escorted the men and their vehicles back to Greater Sydney, issuing the trio with court attendance notices for failing to comply with COVID directions.
However Roni Shawka, told The Daily Telegraph "it was not his fault".
'Language not very good'
Roni claimed the trio had been completing their work in the Orange area when they received a call from NSW Health informing them one had tested positive.
It is alleged the trio then continued travelling to Molong, 37km from Orange.
“Of course I feel very bad, I feel very bad for what I [have] done, but it’s not my fault …,” Roni told The Daily Telegraph.
“I was driving and he call[ed] me from the health [department], he told me to stop working and go home, I was already in Orange.
“I gave them the number of my boss, I told them my language is not very good.
“I [did] not kill someone … I was [doing] my work, I swear to god I didn’t know [I was positive].”
Boss defends removalists' actions
The Daily Telegraph reports after returning to Sydney after first collecting a customer's belongings from Figtree in Wollongong, their employer insisted they have a Covid test as they were essential workers leaving Greater Sydney.
Essential workers leaving Greater Sydney are required to get a test weekly under the current public health rules in NSW.
You do not need to wait for your test results before travelling for work unless you are showing symptoms, which the trio claim they did not experience.
The employer of the trio, Aram Yousif, told The Daily Telegraph when NSW Health informed him of the one positive result he was told Roni needed to isolate in the truck cabin away from his colleagues.
Mr Yousif claims however he was not told the others were required to isolate.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the other two men then also returned a positive result over the next hour-and-a-half and they were escorted back to Sydney by police.
“These guys have not broken any rules,” Mr Youssif said.
“The premier said do the test and go back to your daily life if you have no symptoms. I told them to get that test, they would not have done it otherwise.
“We just followed the instruction, we have not done anything wrong by the public … [but] whatever a court decides we will accept.”
Removalists blasted for 'thoughtless' act
The removalists were blasted for putting people abiding by the health orders at risk, with NSW Police Minister David Elliot dubbing them "thoughtless".
"This thoughtless act has now placed our regional communities in NSW at the greatest risk so far with this pandemic," Mr Elliott said.
"We know that the Delta variant is highly transmissible, and it is unfathomable to think that, with all the public information and health warnings, people could so blatantly ignore the health orders."
Police allege the three men travelled to Molong after being notified they had tested positive to COVID-19.
NSW Police said in a statement the trio has been charged for failing to comply with public health orders and The Daily Telegraph reports they will face Orange court on August 30.
NSW Health has been contacted for comment.
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