International airline crew are exempt from the most strict quarantine measures, in a controversial rule slammed as ‘unacceptable’ by Peta Credlin and Alan Jones.
Foreign nationals working on flights arriving into the country must isolate in a hotel, but only until their next scheduled flight – when they are free to leave.
Australian airline crews do not have to self-isolate at all, even if flying in from abroad.
The decision has sparked criticism after the arrival of a cargo plane which had stopped off in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Pictures showed crew from the flight walking into a Sydney hotel, where they isolated less than 15 hours before returning to China.
Flight crew from the cargo flight from Wuhan (pictured on Wednesday) self-isolated in a hotel at Sydney airport, before flying back to China just 15 hours after landing
International airline crew are exempt from the most strict quarantine measures, in a controversial rule slammed as ‘unacceptable’ by Peta Credlin (left) and Alan Jones (right)
The plane was bringing 90 tonnes of medical supplies to help tackle the deadly coronavirus, which started in a Wuhan market in December.
In a discussion with Alan Jones on 2GB radio, Ms Credlin said the measure was putting lives at risk, calling the rules ‘unacceptable’.
‘I’ll give you an example – my sister is a midwife, but she works in indigenous, remote communities, she has all her life,’ she explained.
‘She’s already in the Northern Territory, she’s finished in one community and they’re trying to move her to go to another – it’s very hard to get experienced medical staff some of these communities at the moment.
Staff from the cargo flight (pictured on Wednesday) were required to isolate in an airport hotel until flying back to China
Airline employees and cargo handlers dressed in protective gear began unpacking the plane on Wednesday night (pictured)
‘They’re making her stand down in a hotel for 14 days to self-quarantine between places in the Northern Territory.
‘Yet these guys, they’re getting off a plane from bloody Wuhan, they’re walking through the streets of Sydney, into hotels, out the next day and gone again.
‘Are we kidding ourselves here?’
It arrived in Sydney on Wednesday at 9pm, where it was met with staff in full protective gears and respirators who then unloaded the cargo.
The plane and all its crew then left Sydney at midday on Thursday.
Flight crew from Wuhan are spotted checking in at Rydges Hotel at Sydney Airport on Wednesday (pictured) after landing their cargo plane full of medical supplies
Airline employees and cargo handlers dressed in protective gear began unpacked the plane’s cargo on Wednesday night (pictured)
It comes after officials in South Australia last week confirmed that 11 Qantas baggage handlers at Adelaide airport had tested positive for COVID-19.
The crew from the Wuhan cargo flight were briefly pictured on the street, but only as they moved from their transport into a hotel – where they remained isolated until taking a flight back to China.
She then alluded to the Ruby Princess disaster, in which up to 600 infected cruise passengers were allowed to wander into Sydney.
Ms Credlin slammed officials for allowing the threat of community transmission from crew members, saying there is still a risk even if they’re self-isolating.
Passengers wear full hazmat suits and protective gear as they prepare to depart the city of Wuhan on one of the train services opened on Wednesday (pictured)
Relieved residents leave Wuhan on Wednesday morning (pictured) after restrictions were lifted
‘The idea that they would get into a vehicle, pass through the airport – think of all the services they’d touch – they’d get into lifts, talk to receptionists,’ she said.
‘The person who cleans the room the next day, and changes the linen.’
‘Why are we putting ourselves at risk?’
Under rules put in place by the Australian department of health, all arrivals in the country must isolate for 14 days in a hotel before returning home.
For all international airline crews, the same applies – but they are allowed to leave before the 14 days are up as long as it is to fly away.
The plane from Wuhan delivered 90 tonnes of medical supplies (pictured) to help Australia with its own coronavirus battle
The supplies included protective clothing and facemasks (pictured) which was flown to Sydney from Wuhan
If they have a home in Australia, they can also isolate there.
The crew from this particular flight, which took off from Wuhan on Wednesday, stayed in a hotel.
The plane’s operator, Suparna, has been delivering medical supplies to Europe since the pandemic broke out.
‘Flights like this are crucial in ensuring the ongoing supply of these critical goods,’ a spokeswoman for the Australian Border Force said.
‘Cargo handlers operating out of all Australian airports follow strict hygiene protocols in line with advice from health authorities.’
The Chinese government lifted its two month lockdown of Wuhan on Wednesday, reopening its borders after 76 days.
Train road and rail connections have reopened however residents need to have clearance via a smart phone application to be allowed to leave.
Each user’s health status is stored within the mobile phone app, which can be accessed by scanning a QR code.