Passengers who disembarked a Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Sydney on July 7 without being screened by New South Wales (NSW) Health for COVID-19, had been screened by Victoria Health before boarding, a Jetstar spokesperson told AAP.
Jetstar staff allowed passengers to disembark in Sydney; however, NSW Health was busy with another flight at the time.
A Jetstar spokesman said on July 8 that the airline assisted NSW Health in finding most passengers before they left the terminal.
Overnight the remaining 48 passengers were contacted, and one passenger who refused testing was referred to the police.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on July 8 said he had asked his department to approach its state counterparts for an explanation.
“These actions are being put in place to protect people, so I want to make sure that they are administered and that there are no excuses,” Hunt told Channel 10’s current affairs programme The Project.
A spokesperson for NSW Health later said Jetstar staff hadn’t followed the agreed protocols when they let passengers from flight JQ520 leave the gate area before health staff had finished screening an earlier flight.
“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,” the spokesperson said in a statement to AAP.
The flight arrived the evening before the NSW-Vitoria border closed; a decision made to stem the rapidly-spreading Melbourne outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
All passengers who disembarked the flight should be in 14 days of self-isolation as part of NSW health protocols.
“If anyone’s travelled in breach of orders, we’ll refer them to police and take the appropriate action depending (on) if anyone is symptomatic,” NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said on July 8.
NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann called on NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to investigate the incident after he made earlier assurances all passengers arriving from Victoria would be screened at Sydney Airport.
“It’s gobsmacking that such an event could occur in NSW after the Ruby Princess debacle,” Faehrmann said.