More than 70 tonnes flown into Australia on infamous flight from Chinese coronavirus epicentre Wuhan is sitting in a warehouse and STILL hasn’t cleared customs
- 70 tonnes of medical and personal protective equipment was flown to Australia
- The privately organised charter flight arrived to Sydney from Wuhan on April 8
- Australian Border Force confirmed the equipment was still under investigation
- One of the flight’s organisers was linked to Victoria’s largest COVID-19 outbreak
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Over 70 tonnes of medical and personal protective equipment flown in from China has still not cleared Australian customs.
The supplies were sent from the coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan to Sydney Airport on April 8.
The Department of Home Affairs confirmed the Australian Border Force was still investigating the equipment and whether it met requirements from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said: ‘The investigation is ongoing.’
Over 70 tonnes of medical and personal protective equipment flown into Sydney from Wuhan on April 8 (pictured above) has still not cleared customs
Pictured: Suprana Airlines crew arriving at Sydney airport on April 8
‘All imported goods selected for examination are stored in licensed depots until goods are released by the Australian Border Force.’
‘The Australian Border Force works closely with the Therapeutic Goods Administration to ensure imported goods comply with customs regulations,’ the spokesperson said.
The Shanghai-based Suprana Airlines charter flight was not a government-to-government arrangement but was privately organised by a collective of Chinese-Australian businessmen, The Age reported.
One key organiser, Eddie Zhi, is a red meat trader connected to Cedar Meats, the Victorian abattoir responsible for the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Zhi said he could not believe ‘the cargo of precious PPE has not cleared customs’.
‘It is the most shockingly bureaucratic experience in Australia in my life,’ he said.
Mr Zhi said he had already supplied the abattoir with 2000 face masks that were imported from China and also purchased 35 tonnes of mutton to send on the return flight.
The delivery of Mr Zhi’s face masks coincided with the first Cedar Meats employee testing positive for coronavirus on April 2.
At least 71 COVID-19 cases have now been linked to the Melbourne meat company.
Cedar Meats said it was not aware of the April 2 test result as it was not informed by Victorian health authorities.
The Australian Border Force said the cargo (pictured) was still under investigation
Pictured: The Suprana Airlines cargo flight crew making their way to the Rydges Hotel
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,928
New South Wales: 3,051
Western Australia: 552
South Australia: 439
Australian Capital Territory: 107
Northern Territory: 29
TOTAL CASES: 6,928
The Department of Health and Human Services said it did not need to inform the meat company as the employee claimed he had not been onsite for four weeks.
The department said the second COVID-19 case emerged on April 24 and contact tracing was initiated.
Work was gradually scaled back as more cases were identified before the company shut completely.
The Department of Health and Human Services said the source of infection was still under investigation.
The facility has now been closed for at least 14 days for infection control, which will continue to be reviewed based on health information.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended the Victorian Premier’s handling of the COVID-19 cluster on Friday.
‘I commend Premier Andrews for the way that he has sought to address this issue.’
‘These outbreaks are difficult. But you’ve got to move quickly and use the tools you’ve got available to you,’ he said.
One of the equipment’s organisers has been linked to Victoria’s largest COVID-19 outbreak