Virus on Albany flight

By Charlotte Wooldridge | posted on April 2, 2020

WITH hundreds of people trying to fly home from across the world to escape the spread of COVID-19, some are ending up in closer contact with the virus than they thought.

Albany local William Marwick was living and working in London when news of the pandemic began to spread.

Mr Marwick said staying in the UK became more unappealing by the day.

“The way London was going it just seemed like it wasn’t being managed very well there, with lots of people still going out,” he said.

“My work dried up as well, so I just came back home.”

But despite the apparent safety of returning home, Mr Marwick found himself on the same Regional Express flight as an unconfirmed case of COVID-19.

The March 20 flight from Perth to Albany had a passenger who tested positive for the virus a few days later.

Mr Marwick had no contact from the airline or the Department of Health, and only found out he had been in close proximity to a confirmed case through an online news story.

“I only found out on Saturday when somebody sent me a link to an article about it,” he said.

“No one contacted me about it officially, I haven’t heard anything.”

The Department of Health states that for flights, a close contact is anyone seated in the same row as the case, the two rows in front, and the two rows behind.

These passengers are contacted and advised to self-quarantine at home for 14 days and to seek medical attention if symptoms develop.

Mr Marwick said it appeared as though the passenger with the virus was amongst the considered ‘healthy’ passengers.

“Because I was an international transfer, I had to wear a face mask and me and the other people coming from international flights were put at the back of the plane, away from everyone else,” he said.

“The concerned case was at the front I think, amongst all the people who weren’t wearing face masks and were all bunched together.”

Mr Marwick said even the Australian borders seemed to be quite relaxed.

“I was surprised at the casualness of when you’re coming into Australia and they’re quarantining you, all you have to do is fill out a form, tell them where you’re staying, hand it to a border person and in you come,” he said.

“I don’t feel like anyone’s been enforcing it with me, it’s just kind of been my own responsibility, which it should be, but it did feel a bit casual.”

Mr Marwick has self-isolated at home and is displaying no symptoms.




Photo: Regional Express Media Centre
Credit Jason Suters