News, Culture & Society

Shock twist as ‘Patient zero’ limo driver who sparked Sydney’s Covid outbreak CLEARED of wrongdoing

The Patient Zero limo driver blamed for sparking the current Sydney Covid lockdown has been cleared by New South Wales Police after an investigation.

Police launched a probe after it was revealed the driver from Bondi had refused  the AstraZeneca vaccine because of a family history of blood clots and had not been tested daily.

But he insisted he was wearing a mask at all times while working as a driver transporting air crew from the airport to hotels.   

On Friday, NSW Police confirmed they were investigating whether any Covid regulations had been breached by the driver or the company he worked for.

 The Sydney Airport driver (pictured) broke his silence to insist he is not the Patient Zero that caused the new flare-up

Health orders require those working around the hotel quarantine system to be tested for the virus daily, and the driver admitted he had not been tested on his days off.

His infection was caught when testing resumed when he returned to work – but he had already been out in the community for several days before getting the positive test result.

On Saturday, Police Commissioner Mick Fuller revealed the investigation had now been dropped through a lack of evidence.  

‘Yesterday I advised we had sent the case for urgent external legal advice due to the significance of this outbreak and the community concern,’ he said.

The limo driver at the centre of the latest Sydney Covid outbreak fears for his life after he was blamed for sparking the current cluster clampdown gripping the city (pictured, a woman runs around an eerily quiet Circular Quay on Thursday)

The limo driver at the centre of the latest Sydney Covid outbreak fears for his life after he was blamed for sparking the current cluster clampdown gripping the city (pictured, a woman runs around an eerily quiet Circular Quay on Thursday)

‘I can now confirm we have received advice that there is insufficient evidence to establish that either the limousine driver or his employer breached any public health orders.’   

On Nine’s A Current Affair on Thursday evening, the driver said he feared for his life after he was blamed for sparking the current outbreak.

The Sydney Airport driver insisted he was not the ‘patient zero’ who caused the new flare-up – instead claiming he caught the virus at his local café. 

His claim was dismissed on Saturday by NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant, who said their investigations had found no evidence to support his story.

The unnamed driver is currently in isolation as he fights his Covid infection and was too ill and too scared of the public backlash to show his face on TV to defend himself. 

The driver told ACA reporter, Lauren Golman (pictured) that he is very scared and concerned about the growing public backlash

The driver told ACA reporter, Lauren Golman (pictured) that he is very scared and concerned about the growing public backlash

‘He tells me he has a family history of blood clots and he didn’t feel comfortable getting the vaccine,’ ACA reporter Laura Golman told host Tracey Grimshaw on Thursday evening.

‘He says he has been working with his doctor, they talk regularly, they tried to come up with a plan but at this stage he is too afraid to have the AstraZeneca vaccine.’

Although the driver was in an apparently high-risk occupation on the frontline with international workers, vaccination was not mandatory, but strongly recommended.

There was no explanation why he hadn’t been vaccinated with the Pfizer jab instead, but Golman stressed the driver was not an anti-vaxxer.  

Golman added: ‘He has not received any kind of pressure or encouragement to have the vaccine. I’m not sure if he has had conversations with his employer.’

The unnamed driver (pictured) is currently in isolation as he fights his Covid infection and was too ill and too scared of the public backlash to show his face on TV to defend himself

 The unnamed driver (pictured) is currently in isolation as he fights his Covid infection and was too ill and too scared of the public backlash to show his face on TV to defend himself

The infected limo driver believed to be 'patient zero' claims vividly remembered another customer in his 30s sat near to him at the Belle Cafe in Vaucluse (pictured) on June 12 who was violently coughing and sneezing

The infected limo driver believed to be ‘patient zero’ claims vividly remembered another customer in his 30s sat near to him at the Belle Cafe in Vaucluse (pictured) on June 12 who was violently coughing and sneezing

Despite his daily close contact with flights crews, the driver believes he was actually infected with the deadly Delta Covid variant by a customer at his regular coffee stop, Belle Café in Vaucluse in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

He told the show he vividly remembered another customer in his 30s sat near to him at the café on June 12 who was violently coughing and sneezing.

The café become an exposure site at the start of the outbreak, with an elderly customer catching the virus there from an infected person. 

An emotional Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) said she was as 'upset and frustrated' as anyone that the 'patient zero limo driver' who seemingly triggered the outbreak was working without being vaccinated or wearing a mask

An emotional Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) said she was as ‘upset and frustrated’ as anyone that the ‘patient zero limo driver’ who seemingly triggered the outbreak was working without being vaccinated or wearing a mask

The unnamed driver, from Bondi, admits he refused the Astra Zeneca vaccine because of a family history of blood clots.

The unnamed driver, from Bondi, admits he refused the Astra Zeneca vaccine because of a family history of blood clots.

Golman said he had not been given daily Covid tests on his days off and his infection was only picked up when he returned to work and testing resumed.

By then though, he had seemingly been spreading the disease around the community for days. 

Until this point, he insists he had been following all the rules and regulations.

‘He claims he was wearing a mask, he was wearing gloves,’ said Golman. ‘He has been doing so since the outbreak of the pandemic early last year. 

‘He says he sanitises his car in between passengers. He wants to look after his own family – he has a wife and daughters and three grandchildren.

‘He wants to keep everyone safe, not to mention the wider community.’ 

Despite his daily close contact with flights crews, the driver believes he was actually infected with the deadly Delta covid variant by a customer at his regular coffee stop (pictured, masked customers leaving a Circular Quay ferry on Thursday)

Despite his daily close contact with flights crews, the driver believes he was actually infected with the deadly Delta covid variant by a customer at his regular coffee stop (pictured, masked customers leaving a Circular Quay ferry on Thursday)

His comments come amid growing fears that private drivers hired to ferry airport crew around Sydney have become dangerous ‘viral bombs’. 

Drivers hired by Transport for NSW are obliged to wear masks and gloves, have their vehicle deep cleaned before every trip and are banned from touching passenger’s luggace.

But one driver told The Daily Telegraph no such rules are followed by private hire vehicles used to carry the foreign airline crews to and from hotels. 

‘We park next to the aircrew transport vehicles and see them go out and come back with no cleaning,’ he said.

‘They’re loading luggage … I’m not even allowed to touch a bag, we have the ADF to do that.

‘I’m not blaming the drivers, someone’s letting them down.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk