Anger after officials fail to enforce social distancing measures at Sydney Airport

Anger after officials fail to enforce social distancing measures at Sydney Airport



Footage appearing to show returning international travellers flouting 1.5 metre social distancing rules at Sydney’s international airport has sparked anger as Australia battles to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The video, posted to Twitter by former journalist Sally Prosser on Thursday morning, showed long lines of people crowding together at the international arrivals area.

In New South Wales, which has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the majority of infections have been contracted while people were overseas.

Of the state’s 1,219 positive tests, at least 500 are believed to be overseas acquired, while 250 have been locally transmitted. The remaining 279 cases are under investigation.

In a statement to SBS News on Thursday, a Sydney Airport spokesperson said they were assisting state and federal agencies as they conduct health screenings but would not respond to questions on who was responsible for enforcing social distancing measures at the airport.

“Our priority in any crisis is the health and safety of our people and that of everyone who comes to the airport, and our ongoing response has been guided by the most up-to-date advice from health authorities,” the spokesperson said.

Signs have been placed throughout the airport reminding people to remain 1.5 metres away from others.

All people arriving in Australia from overseas are required to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine, while a blanket ban is in place for travellers who are not an Australian citizen or resident

Australians have also been banned from travelling overseas during the outbreak.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 471,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the world. Of these, more than 7,500 have died and at least 114,000 have recovered. 

The Australian Border Force has been contacted for comment.

Australians must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Indoors, there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus.



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