A group of doctors who landed at Sydney Airport from Chile fled their hotels where they had been ordered to self-isolate, with 27 managing to board domestic flights.
In an extraordinary breach of quarantine orders, NSW Police Force confirmed last night that they had instructed the Australian Federal Police to issue Public Health Orders to the missing medical professionals when they arrived at their destinations.
The incident occurred at 11pm on Friday night when NSW Health asked for assistance to process passengers on board two flights which had recently arrived from Santiago.
NSW Police attended to help ensure all passenger would adhere to all self-isolation requirements set out by the NSW Government under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW).
The requirements precede the tough new quarantine orders which came in at 11.59pm last night.
Upon arrival in to Australia, NSW Health advised the 77 medical professionals who flew in that they were required to self-isolate for 14 days at hotels in Sydney.
When the officers returned to serve the Public Health Orders, they discovered 33 doctors had left the hotel.
“Six of the 33 individuals were located at Sydney domestic airport terminal by Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers,” police said.
“These individuals have now been served with Public Health Orders and are in self-isolation at a Sydney hotel, where they are required to remain for 14 days.
“The remainder are believed to have travelled to their onward interstate destinations. Contact has been made with the AFP and interstate authorities to ensure the individuals are served with the appropriate Public Health Orders upon their arrival.”
NSW Police Minister David Elliott expressed his disappointment at the breach.
“I’m disappointed to hear medical professionals chose to ignore rules in place to save lives and protect the most vulnerable in our community,” he said.
“No one is above the law. The majority are doing the right thing but for those who choose to flout the rules, they face a fine or even jail time.”
NSW Police Force Commissioner Mick Fuller said people needed to abide by all COVID-19 restrictions in place, for the safety of themselves and each other.
“NSWPF officers are doing everything in their power to keep the community safe,” he said.
“Here we have another example of members of the community who have not listened to the advice of the government. This is why we need these restrictions in place.
“People need to take these arrangements seriously or risk heavy fines and/or imprisonment.”