After visiting her sick daughter in Victoria, Lee Develyn knew she would have to quarantine for 14 days when she arrived back in Queensland.
But while the Townsville resident was ready for isolation, she wasn’t prepared for the ‘filthy’ and ‘humiliating’ method of transport waiting for her at the airport.
Instead of an organised bus or taxi to greet Ms Develyn and other passengers, they were met with police cars.
When Ms Develyn approached the car she was told she would have to sit inside the paddy wagon.
"I was put in the back. No seatbelt, and then he locked the door, he bolted it, I could hear the turn of the key and the bolt and I was just devastated," she told Nine News.
"The stench of urine, the stench of vomit, you could see the walls were marked, it was just filthy."
In a video she filmed herself during the ride, she says she feels “absolutely humiliated’.
She said other passengers told her they were able to sit inside the vehicles and weren’t forced into the back of the van.
The incident occurred on Tuesday, but Ms Develyn wasn’t offered an apology from police until Friday.
"I feel there's a real uniform presence, but there's no heart," she said.
Townsville District’s Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon told Nine News that coaches had been arranged for future passengers arriving into the city.
"I sincerely and unreservedly apologise that is not the way we managed that incident," he said.
"We've got coaches that can transport people across from the airport to the accommodation now."
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