A son in hotel quarantine in Sydney is waiting for the results of his final COVID-19 test after being cleared to travel to Queensland to see his dying father.
A quarantine exemption issued on Wednesday night to Mark Kilian and his partner Anneli Gericke was conditional on “NSW finalising arrangement of safe transfer of the couple to Queensland”.
The couple have taken their final “exit” COVID test in NSW and expect to get their results at about 9am.
Pending a negative result, they will be transported in full personal protective equipment to Sydney airport to get on a charter plane due to leave for the Gold Coast about midday on Thursday.
“It’ll be something I think we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives,” Mark told Nine Network on Thursday.
“We’re not going on a holiday or a cruise, we’re going for something that’s going to be very sad, but at least there’s a dignity to the way we can do it now.”
Father Frans Kilian, 80, is in hospital on the Gold Coast suffering from pancreatic cancer.
His son and Ms Gericke have been in Sydney completing quarantine after rushing to Australia from Los Angeles more than a week ago.
Both are vaccinated and have returned at least three negative coronavirus tests.
“We’re not sure what the plan is when we arrive [on the Gold Coast] … we’re taking it one step at a time,” Mark told Brisbane radio 4BC on Thursday.
“There are plans … to facilitate a visit with my dad, we’re just not sure when it’s going to be.”
Mr Kilian said his father was “elated” by the news.
“He was the first call we made and he was absolutely [as] elated and emotional as he could be in his state about the situation.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday her state had done everything it could to allow the reunion.
“At least a week ago … NSW made it clear there was no impediment for them to make that journey.”
Before the exemption was granted, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had pledged authorities would work to facilitate a reunion as quickly as possible.
Again, this was conditional on NSW guaranteeing safe transport between states.
The decision on the quarantine exemption for the couple came after Frans Kilian pleaded with Queensland Health to show compassion.
“Every day that they are in that hotel is a day less that I have with my son and daughter-in-law in my last days,” he said in a video appeal from his hospital bed.
“I’m asking you, begging you actually, to let my son and his wife leave their quarantine to come here to be with me. It is my dying wish. Please.”
Meanwhile, Queensland has closed its borders to greater Sydney and the surrounding regions of the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour in response to Sydney’s growing COVID-19 outbreak.
“The Delta variant is much more contagious than other variants and we do not want it circulating in Queensland,” chief health officer Jeannette Young said on Wednesday night.
Queenslanders are also being told not to travel to greater Sydney and surrounding areas in NSW as they count down to the school holidays.
The sunshine state reported one new virus case in quarantine on Wednesday, as confirmation came of more instances of transmission of COVID within one of its quarantine hotels.
Two people staying on floor five of Brisbane Airport’s Novotel were infected by a positive case in an adjacent room, Dr Young said.
The cases were previously thought to be overseas acquired. Others staying on the same floor have had their quarantine stay extended as a result.