Despite some early hiccups, Victoria’s traffic light permit travel system has gone live, as new stories emerge of residents being kept in hotel quarantine despite having exemptions from the Victorian Government.
The Victorian State Government announced its domestic travel changes on Monday, with regional New South Wales moving from a “red zone” to “orange”, meaning Victorians in those areas can come home today.
However, those people — along with almost everyone in Australia apart from residents in border towns — travelling from interstate to Victoria is required to apply for a permit.
The DHHS’s permit system went live about 9:00pm on Monday after a delay of almost three hours.
Most users responding on social media reported it taking “only minutes” to get approval after the delay.
However there was still confusion from some in the community hoping to return home to Victoria, particularly from those in the Brisbane area.
Greater Brisbane remains a red zone despite the city’s three-day lockdown coming to an end.
A number of return travellers from greater Brisbane already in Victoria have also contacted the ABC asking whether they can leave isolation if they have a negative test result, if DHHS hasn’t yet contacted them.
Yesterday the DHHS said in a media release: “Anyone who has already arrived in Victoria from the red zone in Queensland from January 2 and who has been advised to isolate until 6:00pm [Monday] evening will be contacted and advised that they can leave isolation if they have a negative test result.”
The DHHS did not respond to the ABC’s questions on the advice.
The confusion comes as many Victorians reveal stories of being forced into hotel quarantine despite exemptions.
For Richard Parris and his family, the past four days have been “confusing, awful and stressful”.
The Melbourne-based electrical engineer was only released from hotel quarantine yesterday after spending three nights at the Park Royal Melbourne Airport, despite having an exemption to self-isolate at home.
Mr Parris was holidaying in New South Wales late last month and then moved to Newcastle — a green zone at the time — in order to fly back to Melbourne without an issue.
Then the rules changed.
“The earliest we could get a flight back was January 2,” he said.
“We were advised not to fly back and apply for the exemption.
“So we did. We were told it would take 48 hours for the exemption to come through.”
Mr Parris said it took six days.
“We extended our accommodation in Newcastle for as long as we could but after calling and calling at no point could we speak to the team actually assessing the exemptions.
“Once we got put through to a person who said they were giving advice about social distancing.
“So I don’t know what was going on. So we had to fly without the exemption.”
On arrival at midday on Friday Mr Harris said he and his family were held at the airport for three hours and then transferred to the hotel where they spent the night.
They received the exemption on Saturday but were not released until Monday afternoon.
“We were put in a hotel that included international arrivals,” he said.
“They are a much greater risk than us.
“We tried to explain our case but the hotel staff said they needed to clear it with the DHHS. But they couldn’t get the clearance.
“So we spent three nights trapped in hotel quarantine when we should never have been there.”
For Daniel Hand and his partner Eugenia Queiroz, the hotel quarantine experience is continuing.
The couple were holidaying in Byron Bay, which was a green zone at the time, and left NSW on December 31 for the Gold Coast — which is not part of the Greater Brisbane area.
They then flew into Melbourne on January 8.
They were placed into hotel quarantine and as of Monday night, were still there.
“It’s been pretty rough, really hard over the past few days,” he said.
“We haven’t had great experience with the DHHS — I mean I live 10 minutes from the airport.
“It’s been horrible, just awful.”
Mr Hand said he had called the DHHS “about 13 times” to get clarification about why they had to quarantine and why they were still being held.
“Everyone says we’re going to escalate it. You’ll hear back. But I haven’t received anything.
“I still haven’t received a call back. I feel like there’s nothing else we can do.”
On Monday night Mr Hand said his quarantine hotel said he could leave on Tuesday if he received a negative COVID test result.
The DHHS did not respond to the ABC’s questions regarding Mr Parris or Mr Hand’s situations.
Thank you for stopping to visit My Local Pages. We Hope you enjoyed reading this story about National and VIC news and updates published as “Victoria’s COVID-19 travel permit system goes live as more stories of forced hotel quarantine emerge”. This news release was shared by MyLocalPages as part of our local and national news services.
#Victorias #COVID19 #travel #permit #system #live #stories #forced #hotel #quarantine #emerge