All travellers arriving in Australia from overseas will be escorted off flights by defence force personnel and whisked away to new quarantine hotels set up across capital cities.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the measures on Friday, more than a week after the Ruby Princess debacle that saw 3,000 cruise ship passengers disembark in Sydney without a single health check.
Since then, 162 of the ship’s passengers have been confirmed to have COVID-19.
From midnight on Saturday, all arrivals at international airports will be made to stay at accommodation facilities for their two weeks mandatory self-isolation under the close watch of border force officials, before getting the all clear to return home.
It comes as the first arrivals – 288 passengers from the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship – continue to reside inside the Swissotel in Sydney’s CBD, after being quietly ferried in the hotel’s back door at 4am on Thursday.
Australians arriving home from overseas (pictured) will be escorted off flights by defence force personnel and whisked away to new quarantine hotels set up across all capital cities
This traveller was taking no precautions as they arrived at Sydney International Airport early on Friday morning, wearing a protective suit, mask and goggles
A passenger walks from the MV Artania to be attended to waiting paramedics on the wharf at Fremantle, Western Australia, on Friday
Those who live in residential apartments on the top nine floors above the Swissotel received an email from building management on Thursday evening, outlining strict measures that are being taken to isolate them.
It is understood all hotels putting up travellers will undertake the same safety measures.
Swissotel’s general manager said the passengers arrived at the 5-star hotel wearing masks, gloves and protective suits.
They were then moved through the ‘back corridors’ and into the biggest elevators in the hotel, so they could abide by social distancing.
As they were led to their rooms, a team of cleaners followed disinfecting all surfaces, the email stated.
Border force guards are understood to be watching each floor, with those in isolation warned they will be handed $1000 on-the-spot fines if they leave their hotel room.
In announcing the new isolation measures during his press conference on Friday, Mr Morrison said international arrivals would be quarantined in the city they touch down in and not allowed to catch a connecting flight to their home state.
‘States and territories will be quarantining all arrivals through our airports in hotels and other accommodation facilities for the two weeks of their mandatory self-isolation before they are able to return to their home,’ he said.
‘If their home is in South Australia or in Perth or in Tasmania and they have arrived in Melbourne, they will be quarantining in Melbourne.
‘If it’s in Sydney, it will be if Sydney. If it’s Brisbane, and so on.
‘The ADF will be supporting those states and territories with compliance checks to ensure that people are at their residences, that they have so worn sworn they would be at, to ensure we get compliance with the self-isolation.’
It comes as the first arrivals – 288 passengers from the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship – continue to reside inside the Swissotel in Sydney’s CBD, under the watchful eye of police (pictured)
Australian travellers on the Norwegian Jewel cruise liner (pictured) are isolating in the hotel after arriving in Sydney from Hawaii, where they had been stranded, on a Qantas charter flight
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the latest strict measures during a press conference on Friday
Australia’s borders were last week closed to foreigners, with only returning locals able to come into the country by plane (Pictured are returned travellers arriving at Sydney Airport on Friday)
There are more than 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, with a total of 13 deaths linked to the virus
New arrivals to Australia will also have their temperatures check at the airport, with anyone suspected of being sick taken to hospital for observation.
Five of the 293 Norweigan Jewel passengers who arrived in Sydney on a chartered Qantas flight were taken to hospital under suspicion of having COVID-19.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 3,112
New South Wales: 1,405
Western Australia: 231
South Australia: 235
Australian Capital Territory: 53
Northern Territory: 12
TOTAL CASES: 3,112
All five have since been released and taken to the Swissotel to join fellow travellers.
But permanent residents of the building are furious about the move, telling Daily Mail Australia they had no idea quarantined passengers would be housed there until they saw it in the news.
John Murphy, who owns an apartment in the high-rise building, left work early so he could find out what the situation was.
The 66-year-old is in the high-risk category of those affected by COVID-19 and said it was concerning that he was about to get in the same elevators used by passengers.
‘It’s just ridiculous, I can’t believe it – I had no idea it was happening at all,’ he said.
‘We are going to be using the same lifts as these people… this would have to be one of the least suitable hotels in the city, there are 10 floors of permanent residences.
‘I own an apartment up there and I didn’t know anything about it until this morning.
John Murphy, who owns an apartment in the Swissotel building said it was ‘just ridiculous’ the hotel was being used as quarantine
An email sent by Swissotel management to concerned permanent residents of the apartment building said that all travellers had past a health check at the airport, before being driven to the hotel wearing gloves, masks and protective suits
‘I’ve been told nothing about what measures are going to be taken to keep us apart so I have come home from work early to find out what the hell is going on.
‘I’m not particularly concerned about myself, but I have friends who live above me who I am worried about.’
Australia’s borders were last week closed to foreigners, with only returning locals able to come into the country by plane.
All cruise ships have been banned from docking in Australia, following the Ruby Princess scandal.
There are more than 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, with almost half of those in New South Wales alone.
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