Wealthy Australians have rushed to book private charter flights to vacation in Queensland, avoiding the possibility of positive Covid cases on commercial flights.
The fears of the mega-rich holidaymakers were confirmed on Tuesday night when hundreds of passengers on two Virgin flights in Queensland were suddenly asked to quarantine themselves for two weeks over Christmas after a positive person flew on both flights .
A backflip yesterday by the Queensland government and health authorities saw the majority of travelers reclassified from ‘close relatives’ to ‘occasional contacts’, so they don’t need to spend Christmas in self-isolation.
KIIS1065 radio star Kyle Sandilands was among those who headed north from Sydney on a private jet.
Sandilands, his girlfriend Tegan Kynaston and his dogs were seen on social media aboard a private jet bound for Far North Queensland earlier this week.
Graham Turner of Flight Center, majority owner of charter operator Avmin, said the private jet business has never been so busy as those cashed in have spent thousands of dollars to avoid crowded flights.
Private jet charter to fly from Sydney to Queensland starts at around $ 5,000
Graham Turner, the founder of travel booking agency Flight Center and majority owner of charter operator Avmin, told the Courier Mail the private jet industry has never been so busy as those cashed in were spending thousands. dollars to avoid crowded flights and the possibility of quarantine if exposed to a positive Covid case.
“There are a lot of people doing it,” he says.
“These are the kind of lengths people are willing to go.
“They don’t want to risk being isolated or quarantined for two weeks.”
Mr Turner said the cost of renting a private jet for a trip from a southern state to Queensland “started” at $ 5,000.
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr John Gerrard were forced to clarify on Wednesday that people traveling on flights to Queensland where a positive Covid case was detected will in the future be classified as casual contact, unless they are traveling with the positive person, or sitting two rows in front or behind.
Casual contacts do not need to self-isolate, but will be advised to have a PCR test, self-isolate until they test negative, and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
The decision to quarantine everyone on both flights had meant hundreds of people would have missed Christmas, sparking outrage from a range of personalities, including ABC host Leigh Sales, the Channel presenter. Nine Tracy Grimshaw and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Fears of mega-rich vacationers booking private charters were confirmed on Tuesday evening when hundreds of passengers on two Virgin flights in Queensland were suddenly asked to quarantine themselves for two weeks over Christmas after a positive person flew in on both flights
On Tuesday evening, Queensland Health announced on its website that passengers aboard flights VA1105 from Newcastle to Brisbane and VA375 from Brisbane to Townsville, both on Monday, December 13, were close contacts of a positive case and are expected to isolate until December 27.
The infected person traveled on the flight from Newcastle to Brisbane after visiting an exhibition site in Newcastle. He then flew to Townsville but didn’t spend much time in the community while he was contagious.
Ms D’Ath revealed yesterday that passengers on the two Virgin flights had not even been contacted by Queensland contact tracers, but the isolation advice had been posted on the Queensland Health website.
The decision to quarantine people on two Queensland flights has come under attack by ABC 7.30 host Leigh Sales, among others
“What is the Qld base enclosing planes full of vaxed people for Christmas without warning or precedent?” “Tweeted Ms. Sales.
The move created an immediate backlash, with the ABC host tweeting at 7:30 am: “Flights have been running between NSW and Vic for months – has there been a single superspreader event on a flight linked to a case of Covid? ”
“What is the Qld base enclosing planes full of vaxed people for Christmas without warning or precedent?” ”
Queensland has been on edge since its borders reopened last Monday to interstate travelers from declared “hot spots” such as NSW, Victoria and ACT.
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk, Ms D’Ath and Dr Gerrard have all repeatedly warned that the relatively low number of Covid cases in the state will not last now that border restrictions have eased.
On Tuesday, Dr Gerrard said it was “inevitable” that more cases of Covid would be detected in the state and that a mask warrant for people meeting inside would likely be reintroduced if community transmission increased in Queensland.
‘[But] At this point, we see no evidence of sustained community transmission, ”he said.
On Monday, he said he expected to see “more than hundreds” of cases in the coming months.