Australian police launch investigation into superyacht that visited Covid hotspot
Seven people on board a superyacht in Queensland have had their exemption from hotel quarantine revoked after it emerged the vessel had been in a coronavirus hotspot on route to the state, according to 7News.
“Attempting to bypass or manipulate Queensland’s border direction is unacceptable,” Queensland Health said in a statement.
“All seven people are now required to quarantine in a government approved hotel for 14 days at their own expense.”
People coming to Queensland from a declared Covid-19 hotspot by boat are allowed to avoid the mandatory two-week hotel quarantine as long as those on board have been isolated at sea for 14 days.
Each occupant must also return a negative Covid test.
But questions were raised about the yacht’s exact route, with a report claiming the occupants stopped to swim in the Clarence River in northern New South Wales.
Queensland police have launched an investigation after the revelation about the stop-offs in Covid hotspots despite initial information to the contrary.
The vessel arrived on the Gold Coast on Monday, reportedly carrying a Victoria-based millionaire and his family.
Chief health officer, Jeannette Young, revoked a previous quarantine exemption after it emerged the boat had been in NSW.
Deputy Police Commissioner, Steve Gollschewski, had earlier said he would “look personally into that issue (and) ensure everything has been done properly”.
“If it has not, there will be further investigations.”
Young says the boat was not the only superyacht granted an exemption from hotel quarantine.
“We do give exemptions to anyone who’s been on any vessel for 14 days and not been into an area of risk,” she says.
“I do know about a number of superyachts that have come into Queensland, because we’re quite an important place for repairs, for a lot of those superyachts.
“We have a significant industry in that.”
She said state government agency Maritime Safety Queensland conducts checks of the logs of vessels to verify their whereabouts.
According to the Daily Mail, Lady Pamela stopped at Refuge Cove near the southernmost point of mainland Australia on August 10.
Later stops included Eden and Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast, Corlette in the Hunter region north of Sydney, followed by Coffs Harbour.
Lady Pamela spent five days docked in a Yamba inlet where the Simonds family were reportedly spotted swimming in the river and drinking on board as they waited for approval to enter Queensland waters.
It’s understood Queensland Police has been tracking the progress of the yacht since it departed Victoria and are now investigating any potential border restriction breaches.
Queensland Health medical officers boarded Lady Pamela to test those on board after the vessel docked at Gold Coast Marina.