About 175 people were in isolation on Monday after police incorrectly allowed two international travellers from Germany to break quarantine rules and board a flight from Sydney to Melbourne over the weekend.
Under Australia’s strict Coronavirus measures, all international passengers must undergo 14-day hotel quarantine on arrival.
Police at Sydney airport believed the German nationals, a 53-year-old woman and a 15-year-old boy had a quarantine exemption.
New South Wales (NSW) Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy blamed language barrier for the misunderstanding.
An alarm was raised by a security attendant when the pair arrived at Melbourne airport. They had reportedly asked for directions to quarantine.
“On arrival in Melbourne, Victoria Health advised NSW Health that the pair were not in possession of an approved exemption and had been escorted to hotel quarantine where they remain,’’ police said in a statement on Sunday.
The pair who had travelled to Australia from Germany via Japan have tested negative for COVID-19.
As a result of the breach, more than 170 passengers from the domestic flight, plus airport staff and crew, have been forced to isolate.
They may be able to end the isolation period early if the German nationals test negative again on Monday.
Melbourne emerged from one the world’s strictest and longest Coronavirus lockdowns in late October.
The city of 4.9 million residents had been under stay at home orders for 112 days.
On Monday, Melbourne recorded its 38th consecutive day without a Coronavirus case.
Australia currently has its international borders closed, only allowing entry to citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families.
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