New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has reiterated calls for a roadmap to open Australia up to the rest of the world. “There’s still no clear roadmap or strategy to get there and I think that needs to be communicated more clearly,” Mr Perrottet told Sky News. “It’s a difficult conversation because we will be one of the few countries in the world that will be opening up and letting the virus in but at that point in time you’d want to have the majority of the population vaccinated. He said it’s not only important for the government but for businesses and citizens. “Unless we set those targets, even if we fall short, at less there is a direction that we know we’re heading.”
A traveller who arrived from Papua New Guinea posed “no risk” to airport staff, Queensland’s chief health officer says, after reports emerged ground employees were told to “open the door and run”.
The Courier Mail reported on Wednesday that Qantas staff had described the arrival of Air Niugini flight PX003 on May 7 as an “absolute cock up”.
They were reportedly told there was a COVID-positive passenger on board, which has since been vehemently denied by health authorities.
A Qantas spokesman confirmed to NCA NewsWire that Brisbane Airport had been alerted 30 minutes prior to the flight’s arrival that there was a “potential case on board”.
However, Jeannette Young said the man in question had fully recovered from the virus and would not have been allowed to fly if he had been positive.
“The good thing that we’ve seen in Queensland is that everyone has been very cautious … That has stood us well,” Dr Young said.
“There was no need for this to have happened. This was a fully recovered, historic case – that’s why he was given permission to travel to Australia.
“Anyone who tests positive before getting on a plane is not allowed to travel until they are fully recovered.
“I do not criticise the airport or anyone there for taking an ultra-cautious approach … but they do not need to have been concerned. He was fully recovered.”
The Qantas spokesman said there were a “number of strict procedures in place for managing aircraft arriving from overseas”.
“Qantas ground staff followed all procedures,” he said.
Fully decked in PPE, Qantas ground staff were instructed to open the doors and leave the area, as is standard procedure, and had no contact with anyone inside the plane.
The aircraft was taken over by health and border authorities, in line with protocol.
Dr Young said while the man concerned did not have the virus, “we do not know that anyone else on that plane did not have COVID”.
“There could always be a positive case on that plane … We need to treat every single person on one of those flights from PNG, or anywhere, as potentially being infectious,” she said.
“This particular individual did not cause any risk, but there might have been others who did.”
The man is currently in hotel quarantine, where he will serve the mandatory 14 days.
Queensland recorded three new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, all overseas acquired and in hotel quarantine.