A returned traveller being held in mandatory 14-day coronavirus quarantine has compared his five-star taxpayer-funded accommodation to a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp.
The man wrote ‘Stalag 13 Covid-19 Hotel’ on the window of his luxurious Sofitel Wentworth Hotel room in Sydney, where he is being forced to stay under strict measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Federal Government on March 26 ordered every person who returned from overseas be placed in hotels under police guard for two weeks.
Most are staying at five-star accommodation, with meals provided for the duration of their free 14-day stay.
Stalag 13, or Stalag XIII-C, was a notorious prisoner-of-war camp established by the German military under the direction of Adolf Hitler during the Second World War.
The infamous facility imprisoned captured soldiers from Belgium, Holland, France, Yugoslavia and the British Commonwealth, including Australia.
American comedy TV series Hogan’s Heroes was set in a fictional POW camp also named Stalag 13.
A man is pictured at the window of his luxury Sofitel hotel room in Sydney after writing Stalag 13 on the glass, a reference to the infamous Nazi prisoner-of-war camp
The people quarantined at the Sofitel Wentworth are able to see each other and some are able to interact via notes passed from balconies
A return traveller in quarantine is pictured at the window of her hotel room in Sydney with a sign that says Happy Easter
The man who wrote the slogan on the hotel window was pictured peering into the distance with his arms above his head.
Others confined to the Sofitel for two weeks seemed less perturbed by the accommodation, with one giving a thumbs up and placing a ‘Happy Easter’ sign on her window.
Another waved and flashed a smile for photographers, while one man posed for a photo while enjoying a coffee at his window.
Each room has a Lindt Easter Bunny and many rooms are decorated with signs some prompting dialogue between rooms to relieve the boredom
A woman is pictured sitting on the small balcony of her quarantine hotel room appearing glum on Easter Sunday
A return traveller in quarantine smiles for the camera on Easter Sunday while drinking a beverage
More than 5,000 people have been forced into quarantine across the country in recent weeks, the majority in Sydney.
The first 280 of those were released last Wednesday, while 1,300 were set free over the weekend.
Before being released back into the world, travellers must also undergo a final medical check.
But many of those forced into the 14-day period of isolation have been furious at the conditions.
‘The first three days were pretty horrendous actually because you’re going from having complete freedom to being confined, not able to leave your room at all, and the food was terrible as well,’ one man told the ABC of his stay at the Intercontinental in Melbourne.
‘It was just a nightmare… you really felt like you were in prison.’
The quality of the food being served to at the COVID-19 hotels has also been a major complaint.
‘The food has been really atrocious, it’s worse than a struggle meal,’ one woman said in a video on Facebook.
‘My breakfast was a total of nine cubes of random fruits, it’s not amazing.’
One unnamed man, leaving the InterContinental Sydney, called forced quarantine ‘nightmare-like’
Another woman said she was still waiting for her dinner at 9.30pm after she sent her previous food back because she couldn’t eat it due to dietary restrictions.
‘I didn’t want to complain because some people during this pandemic are in worse conditions however the food situation is bulls***,’ she said.
‘I have dietary requirements and every time they send food, they send things I can’t eat so I have to spend 30 minutes on hold only for them to apologise and send different food two hours later.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,311
New South Wales: 2,854
South Australia: 429
Western Australia: 514
Australian Capital Territory: 102
Northern Territory: 28
TOTAL CASES: 6,311
‘I totally get that they are under the pump and finding it tough to deal with this because it was extremely last minute but it’s not our fault we have to stay here.
‘We can order room service now of course it’s expensive and I spent my money on last-minute flights so I can’t afford that or Uber eats either, I’m definitely not the only one in that position either.’
Robert Wong, a guest at the Swissotel, said his diabetic meal was incomplete.
‘One tub of yoghurt, one tub of fruits, a bundle of vegemite, peanut butter, butter and two weetbix cakes,’ he said.
‘Where are the sandwiches (if any)? What is the point of providing butter, vegemites, ect with nothing to go with it.’
Among the complaints of quarantine guests has been the cost of hotel services.
Dan Wood, who landed in Sydney from the UK last Friday and is now staying at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, said the price of washing his clothes was ‘ridiculous’.
One of the top complains of quarantine guests has been the quality of the food and cost of the services.
Hilton Sydney guests stuck in quarantine have complained about the lack of fresh food
‘These are the cleaning prices in quarantine, with a 100 percent markup on top,’ he said.
‘It would cost me $1,011 to get my washing done.’
But not everyone is so bothered by strict news measures for travellers.
Patrick Zippel, 28, arrived back in his hometown of Melbourne on Tuesday after three years living and working on the ski slopes in Switzerland.
‘We’re in a four-star hotel, free movies on demand, free wifi and three good, balanced meals a day,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We get floor to ceiling windows with a view over Melbourne.Sure you can’t open the window for fresh air or step outside to exercise, but its for the good of the country and it’s short-sighted to not appreciate that.’
Mr Zippel said his quarantined return was ‘as comfortable as possible’.
‘The way I see it, those who are complaining about their plush hotel rooms are the same people who would blatantly leave their houses during isolation,’ he said.
‘We’re not doing this for ourselves, we’re doing it for our community.’
Patrick Zippel (pictured) returned home from a three-year stint in Europe on Tuesday and is now quarantined
The snowboarder is staying in a four star hotel in Melbourne and doesn’t understand what others have to complain about. Pictured: Mr Zippel’s room at the Crown Promenade in Melbourne
Tragedy as man ‘takes his own life’ in coronavirus quarantine in a Melbourne hotel after returning from overseas – as other travellers emerge from isolation
A man has been found dead in his hotel room during forced coronavirus quarantine.
The recently returned traveller’s body was discovered on Saturday afternoon inside a hotel room at South Wharf, in Melbourne’s CBD.
It is understood the man’s death was due to self-harm and Victoria Police confirmed they were not treating the death as suspicious.
‘Police will prepare a report for a coroner after a man was found deceased in a hotel at South Wharf on April 11,’ a spokesperson said.
‘The death is not being treated as suspicious.’
The death came as other returned travellers were able to leave the city’s Crown Promenade hotel after completing the required 14 days in isolation.
A man has been found dead in his hotel room during forced coronavirus quarantine, having recently returned to Australia from overseas (Stock image)
The death came as other returned travellers were able to leave the city’s Crown Promenade hotel after completing the required 14 days in isolation
All departing guests on Easter Sunday were given chocolate eggs as a parting gift by the hotel
There were smiles and thumbs up aplenty from those travellers who finally rediscovered their freedom on Sunday morning
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said: ‘The coroner will investigate the incident and as such we are unable to comment further.’
‘Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased at this time.’
Any traveller who returned to Australia from overseas after March 26 was required to spend 14 days in hotels to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In total more than 5,000 people have been forced into quarantine across the country in recent weeks, with the majority in Sydney.
The first 280 of those were released last Wednesday, while 1,300 more regained their freedom over the weekend.
Before being released back into the world, travellers must undergo one final medical check.
Those who were able to leave the Travelodge in Sydney’s CBD on Sunday told Daily Mail Australia they had been treated well during their stay.
‘It’s very overwhelming to be outside right now, it’s so wonderful – I think I might cry,’ Mykayla MacNamara said.
‘I did reading, listened to music and stared out the window for hours each day.
‘I think the policy is reasonable given the situation with the cruise ships here, but I don’t think it will be very effective if people aren’t social distancing outside on the streets.’
Mykayla MacNamara (pictured) said it was an ‘overwhelming’ moment when she got back her freedom on Sunday morning
More than 100 returned travellers inside the Travelodge in Sydney’s CBD were allowed to walk free on Sunday after returning to Australia from the USA and UK
Katie Brown and Margaret Mulvaney returned to Australia from Iowa, U.S, on March 29, and were thrilled to be back outside in the fresh air
An elderly woman is among the first returned travellers to be released from forced quarantine at the Swissotel, in Sydney’s CBD, last Wednesday. There have been mixed reactions from the returned travellers, with some praising the government’s stance and others comparing it to jail
Margaret Mulvaney and her daughter Katie Brown spent two weeks sharing one hotel room and admitted they went ‘a little strange’.
But while being cooped inside for 14 days after returning from the United States was far from ideal, they said they understand why it was necessary.
‘The treatment in here has been awesome, the food was really good and if you needed someone to talk to you just had to call,’ Ms Mulvaney said.
‘They had mental health and physical health checks everyday, so that was great, and I think it was fair that they made sure people quarantined because so many weren’t.
‘Two weeks felt like forever. We went a little strange, we did things like eye-spy out the window and karaoke sessions and lots of Netflix.’
But not all had the same attitude to being forced into a hotel room under watch from police and the army.
One man who walked free on Saturday said he felt like he’d been sent to ‘prison’.
‘The first three days were pretty horrendous actually because you’re going from having complete freedom to being confined, not able to leave your room at all, and the food was terrible as well,’ one man told the ABC.
‘It was just a nightmare… you really felt like you were in prison.’
There are now more than 6,300 confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia, with 57 deaths
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday morning that he would be extending the current ‘state of emergency’ until at least May 11
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday morning that he would be extending the current ‘state of emergency’ until at least May 11.
The four week extension could increase if there is a change to the current trend of a reduction in cases.
Victoria recorded just three new positive coronavirus patients on Saturday, but the state was warned not to become complacent.
‘These are positive, albeit fragile numbers,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘These things can change very quickly.’
Victoria has 1,265 confirmed COVID-19 patients, less than half of New South Wales which has 2,857.
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