All travellers arriving in Australia from overseas will be escorted off flights by defence force personnel and whisked away to new quarantine hotels set up across capital cities.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the measures on Friday, more than a week after the Ruby Princess debacle that saw 3,000 cruise ship passengers disembark in Sydney without a single health check.
Since then, 162 of the ship’s passengers have been confirmed to have COVID-19.
From midnight on Saturday, all arrivals at international airports will be made to stay at accommodation facilities for their two weeks mandatory self-isolation under the close watch of border force officials, before getting the all clear to return home.
It comes as the first arrivals – 288 passengers from the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship – continue to reside inside the Swissotel in Sydney’s CBD, after being quietly ferried in the hotel’s back door at 4am on Thursday.
Those who live in residential apartments on the top nine floors above the Swissotel received an email from building management on Thursday evening, outlining strict measures that are being taken to isolate them.
It is understood all hotels putting up travellers will undertake the same safety measures.
Swissotel’s general manager said the passengers arrived at the 5-star hotel wearing masks, gloves and protective suits.
They were then moved through the ‘back corridors’ and into the biggest elevators in the hotel, so they could abide by social distancing.
As they were led to their rooms, a team of cleaners followed disinfecting all surfaces, the email stated.
Border force guards are understood to be watching each floor, with those in isolation warned they will be handed $1000 on-the-spot fines if they leave their hotel room.