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Coronavirus Australia: Patient zero Bondi limo driver fined for not wearing a mask

Bondi limo driver who ‘sparked Australia’s horror Delta outbreak’ is fined for not wearing a MASK while waiting for a bus – after insisting he followed all the rules while driving airport staff

  • Limo driver at the centre of Australia’s Delta outbreak is fined for Covid breach
  • Police slapped Michael Podgoetsky, 62, with a $500 PIN for not wearing a mask
  • Mr Podgoetsky is thought to be patient zero for Australia’s worst Covid outbreak
  • Thousands of Aussies have since caught the Delta strain wreaking havoc on NSW
  • Greater Sydney is now enduring its 10th week of lockdown since the outbreak 

The limo driver at the centre of Australia’s biggest coronavirus outbreak has been slapped with a $500 fine for not wearing a face mask.

Michael Podgoetsky was hit with the PIN on Tuesday at about 3pm while sitting on a bus stop bench near his home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The 63-year-old is thought to be patient zero for the disastrous Bondi cluster which has now spread throughout the state claiming the lives of 96 people and infecting 21,208.

Now entering its 10th week, the outbreak sparked the brutal lockdown which has since spread all across New South Wales, leaving millions confined to their homes and kids shut out of school.

The limo driver at the centre of Australia’s biggest coronavirus outbreak has been slapped with a $500 fine for not wearing a face mask. Pictured: St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney

Mr Podgoetsky tested positive for the Delta strain on June 15 and maintains he did nothing wrong, insisting he became infected at a local Bondi café.

However health officials consider him the ‘index case’ and suggest he caught the virus ferrying international Fed Ex air staff to hotel quarantine on June 11 before unknowingly spreading it to his wife and several others.

At the time of the ill-fated trip he was not legally required to be vaccinated or wear a mask, despite his high-risk job.

The Gladys Berejiklian government was reportedly warned the potential biosecurity risks associated with transport workers but did not act until it was too late.

The NSW Government has since enacted a policy in response to him triggering the outbreak which requires anyone working with quarantined or international arrivals to be vaccinated and wear face coverings.

Mr Podgoetsky stated that he was wearing a face mask at all times while driving.

But this week, police say he failed to follow the public health orders which mandate mask-wearing at all times outdoors unless exercising. 

Michael Podgoetsky was hit with the Penalty Infringement Notice on Tuesday at about 3pm while sitting on a bus stop bench near his home in Sydney's eastern suburbs (pictured, police patrol the eastern suburbs of Sydney)

Michael Podgoetsky was hit with the Penalty Infringement Notice on Tuesday at about 3pm while sitting on a bus stop bench near his home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs (pictured, police patrol the eastern suburbs of Sydney)

‘Around 3pm today (Tuesday 31 August 2021) officers from Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command received information relating to a breach of the COVID-19 public health orders by a 63-year-old Bondi man,’ Police said in a statement.

‘The man has now been issued with a $500 PIN for not wear fitted face covering at public transport waiting area.’

Mr Podgoetsky told the Daily Telegraph he’s tired of being connected to the devastating outbreak.

‘I don’t want to be associated with this. I got this stupid disease from somewhere, I don’t know where,’ he said.

Health officials consider Mr Podgoetsky the 'index case' of the Delta outbreak and suggest he caught the virus ferrying international Fed Ex air staff to hotel quarantine on June 11 before unknowingly spreading it to his wife and several others (pictured, travellers at Sydney Airport)

Health officials consider Mr Podgoetsky the ‘index case’ of the Delta outbreak and suggest he caught the virus ferrying international Fed Ex air staff to hotel quarantine on June 11 before unknowingly spreading it to his wife and several others (pictured, travellers at Sydney Airport)

‘It’s terrible what’s happening to the country… I followed all the rules,’ he said.

He has since returned to work and has been vaccinated against the virus receiving both Pfizer jabs after initially refusing the AstraZeneca dose due to a family history of blood clots.   

‘It’s unfair that people have blamed me for Delta. I got it from somebody.

‘I’ve got a drug addict… living (near) me who’s threatening me. It’s terrible what’s happening in the country.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk