Dying woman questions ‘fairness’ as Storm dodge hotel quarantine
Queensland's controversial quarantine policy has come under fire again after NRL coach Craig Bellamy was allowed to stay in a beachfront apartment, while a terminal cancer patient rejected three times is desperate to see her Brisbane family for Christmas.
Bellamy and his NRL premiership-winning Melbourne Storm outfit were granted a special exemption from the Chief Health Officer allowing them to spend 14 days quarantine in private homes or "approved government accommodation" after returning from last month's Sydney grand final on a charter flight.
The Storm had been living in a "bubble" on the Sunshine Coast during the football season, following strict protocols allowing sporting teams to travel in and out of Queensland.
However, the latest exemption from standard hotel quarantine follows a number of celebrity cases, including Hollywood star Tom Hanks and Masked Singer judge Dannii Minogue.
Meanwhile, 3700 people remain locked up in enforced 14-day quarantine under police guard in hotels across the state.
Bree McQuilty, who now lives in country Victoria, has applied three times to quarantine at her family's Brisbane home, producing statements from doctors outlining how her weakened immune system would be at greater risk in a hotel. Her appeal was refused.
Now stuck in Melbourne for medical appointments, she is desperately hoping Queensland's border blockade will be relaxed in time for her to join her family on Christmas Eve.
Ms McQuilty's mother Sandie Graham yesterday said it was heartbreaking to see different standards in the state's crusade against COVID-19.
"Where is the fairness?" she asked. "You read about celebrities and they can have 30,000 people at a football match, but a person with terminal cancer who even has letters from her doctors can't get a look in.
"This may be Bree's last Christmas so we're just hoping that they will relax the restrictions by then."
Bellamy - famous for his coaching box blow-ups - said on Sunday he was looking forward to the end of his quarantine, but appreciated what others have had to endure.
He said inspectors had turned up at the apartment several times to make sure he was obeying directives.
Queensland protocols allowed athletes and officials to travel in and out of the state if they were part of "bubble" environments following strict protocols.
A Queensland Health spokesman said the Storm were allowed to complete 14 days quarantine "in their homes or approved government accommodation". "This concession was granted to the Melbourne Storm team because they were based in Queensland and complied with the rules of the NRL bubble for the 2020 season," he said.
Forty-five thousand people have been ordered into hotel quarantine since March.
Originally published as Dying woman questions 'fairness' as Storm dodge hotel quarantine