Some of the returning Australian travellers forced into two weeks’ quarantine in city hotels under tough coronavirus restrictions have complained of prison-like conditions and inadequate supplies.
But their complaints aren’t going down well with the wider public, with people piling on to social media to accuse quarantined travellers of being self-entitled whingers.
Hundreds of Australians who returned home after midnight on Saturday are in the early stages of a compulsory fortnight’s quarantine in capital city hotels.
Among them is Sharon Bingle, the mother of Australian model Lara Worthington. Worthington slammed NSW Health for the “unacceptable” conditions her mother faced in a Sydney hotel while showing “heavy symptoms” of COVID-19.
“I don’t think this looks like a 5 star accommodation to me,” she wrote.
Earlier, cruise ship passenger Amber Hammond, who is staying at the luxury Swissotel Hotel in the Sydney CBD. She told SBS news the conditions inside were “abysmal”, and she and fellow passengers were being treated like criminals.
“We are not allowed out of our rooms, even with masks and keeping a 1.5 metre distance,” she said.
“We are not allowed to open our doors except to get food. We are not allowed to get any fresh air and the windows do not open.”
Another cruise passenger, 74-year-old John Poole, said the situation had been badly handled.
“It feel like we are in a jail cell. Prisoners in Long Bay are being looked after better than we are – and we don’t even have the virus,” he said.
“We aren’t the high-risk people. We need fresh air.”
Sydney arrivals are also being put up at the Hilton, the Intercontinental and the budget Ibis. In Melbourne, returned travellers have been taken to the four-star Crown Promenade and the Crown Metropol.
All had their temperatures checked on arrival at airports. They were then bundled onto buses by police and the military to go the city hotels.
Life in the hotels will be restricted – quarantined travellers cannot use shared facilities and their rooms are under guard to make sure rules are followed.
Bridget Lindsay told the ABC on Monday that her journey from Sydney airport to the Hilton hotel took five hours.
She and her boyfriend arrived back in Australia on an American humanitarian flight back from Ecuador that cost them $14,000.
“It’s a lovely room, I’ll give it that,” Ms Lindsay said.
“It’s quite confronting, actually, to see all these bans being put in place on us. It’s very, very isolating.”
She said the couple understood they presented a risk to the community, but would have liked to be “treated a bit like a human”.
“We’ve been treated somewhat a little bit like animals, I feel, since yesterday from the airport,” she said.
Research adviser Carina Wyborn was scathing about the care pack she found when she finally got to her room.
But her comments drew little sympathy from other social media users.
“Try have a grateful heart. There are people who cannot even afford a holiday, let alone afford to feed themselves or children or even have a roof over their head. You wont go hungry,” responded one Twitter user.
“Sorry to see the goods provided to you for free by the Australian taxpayer are not sufficiently meeting your outrageous sense of entitlement,” wrote another. “Sending thoughts and prayers.”