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Byron Shire
September 17, 2021

45 Sydney-Ballina travellers exposed to COVID-19

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Forty-five travellers from Sydney are being urged to get tested for COVID-19 and continue self-isolation on the Northern Rivers after sharing a flight with a confirmed case.

Acting Northern NSW Health District CEO Lynne Weir confirmed Monday the travellers were all supposed to have been self-isolating anyway as they were under public health orders to follow stay-at-home rules applicable in Sydney.

The passengers caught a Virgin flight from Sydney to Ballina on 14 July: flight VA 1139.

A man aboard the same flight had breached directions to self-isolate in Sydney after having a COVID-19 test on 12 July, health authorities later said.

Authorities said the man further breached public health orders by travelling from Ballina to Brisbane.

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Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport general manager Julie Stewart fronted media on the weekend and said a lack of known local outbreaks eleven days after the breach was a relief.

Ms Stewart said police were carrying out random checks on arrivals from Sydney at the Ballina airport but that it was up to individuals to adhere to travel restrictions.

The airport general manager said Sydney-to-Ballina flight schedules had drastically reduced and there were some days without any scheduled flights.

Health authorities said people were allowed to come to the Northern Rivers from Sydney during Sydney’s lock-down if they were so-called ‘essential workers’; if they were returning home; or if they had an exemption to attend a funeral.

Some passengers aboard COVID exposure flight yet to be tested

Acting Northern NSW Health CEO Lynne Weir said authorities had contacted all 45 passengers aboard the Sydney-to-Ballina flight as of end of day Sunday with instructions to get tested and isolate for fourteen days regardless of the results.

The passengers were officially considered ‘close contacts’ of a COVID-19 case, while anyone who was in the Ballina airport between 11.45am and 12.10pm on 14 July was considered a ‘casual contact’ and would also need to get tested and self-isolate until they received a negative result.

Ms Weir said ‘quite a few’ passengers had been tested as of Monday morning and it’s believed the man was driven in a private car from the airport to Brisbane after arrival in Ballina.

State authorities in NSW and QLD were still investigating the breach.

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  1. “… they were under public health orders to follow stay-at-home rules applicable in Sydney.”

    And they are working so well in Sydney right now. I feel so reassured!

  2. Your comment makes as much sense as the Echo using a photo of a Jetsatar flight to enhance its story involving the Virgin flight.

  3. So, Sydney is effectively in a lockdown, yet there are 6+ flights from Sydney into Ballina? and we’re trying to stay at zero cases? Excuse me?

  4. “Health authorities said people were allowed to come to the Northern Rivers from Sydney during Sydney’s lock-down if they were so-called ‘essential workers’; if they were returning home; or if they had an exemption to attend a funeral.”

    Now it has been found out this bloke met up with his female friend and went onto Brisbane..
    This bloke was NOT an essential working nor going to a funeral…he was going for a meetup with his girlfriend..
    Question to the Health Authorities..
    So how in the hell was he allowed on the plane…he should have been picked up?
    A/. At the boarding gate prior to departure by Jetstar ground staff or Comm Police..
    B/. Picked up in Ballina when he got off the flight.

  5. What madness is this ? Plane loads of people arriving from the epicentre of the contagion? Voluntary isolation ?
    Can there be a better spreader than have people from infected areas travelling all over by Plane ?
    Premier, your lock ddown is a seive, please rectify and lock us all in place.

  6. Health authorities said
    “”people were allowed to come to the Northern Rivers from Sydney during Sydney’s lock-down if they were so-called ‘essential workers’; if they were returning home; or if they had an exemption to attend a funeral.”””

    The “health authorities” who said believe this group needed 6 flights today to accommodate them all (same tomorrow?)

    How stupid do they think we are?

  7. COMPLETELY & TOTALLY & ABSOLUTELY AGREE with Peter & Simon, so much for a ‘lockdown’ which is leaking badly > this is like re -arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The irresponsible Dude who had Covid & gave it to his partner SHOULD not have been allowed on that flight. Was there NO temperature checks in Syd ? & Hey ! he may have been A symptomatic anyway, so PLEASE STOP THESE TOXIC FLIGHTS. Sydney is now classed as a Super Spreader , there is a longggggg list of people (as I discovered myself yesterday in Lismore) who can NOT get a vaccine & Gladys hasn’t even done what Victoria did ie: lockdown the entire Sydney region? Gladys waited for infections to spread before she even announced a limited lockdown in the Sth West, school kids could organise this more efficiently. If Gladys isn’t history at the next election , we should all moved to NZ.


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