COVID-19

Cops to track Sydney Covid removalists

Victoria Police said it were assisting the Department of Health “with their investigation in establishing the movements of the removalist team from NSW across Victoria”. “The company involved has been helpful and are assisting with these inquiries,” a spokesman said. It comes two days after Victoria’s Covid-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said the removalists had not only breached their permits but withheld crucial information, revealing new details of the trio’s trip more than 36 hours after the state’s public health team began interviewing them.It triggered an angry response from Mr Weimar who said “the book will be thrown” at them. The men arrived in Melbourne on July 8 on a special workers permit for freight drivers to deliver furniture in the City of Hume and pick up another load in the City of Maribyrnong.Families were at home at both locations and were now isolating.CCTV footage and witness statements revealed the removalists were not wearing masks.It prompted authorities to lockdown the Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong as a result of one of the deliveries.Four people inside the building have since tested positive as well as the elderly parents of one resident.Mr Weimar said the drivers then breached several permit conditions, including the need to wear a face mask while in Victoria, appropriate record-keeping for contact tracing purposes and “effective self-isolation” where practicable when working and during stops.It was also revealed the men had arrived in two trucks and had stopped at a petrol station and fast-food outlet in Kalkallo, on Melbourne’s northern fringe, on July 8.Victoria entered its fifth lockdown since the start of the pandemic as a result, as six new cases overnight brought the outbreak total to 24 infections.“Books will be thrown when it’s time, when it’s ready to throw them, and I’m exceptionally frustrated at the pace and transparency of information coming from the removalists’ exposure,” Mr Weimar said.“That’s been a real matter of concern … (and) it is my concern that we haven’t had this quick and transparent exposure of all the information. That’s why we’re talking about Kalkallo now – 24 hours after we started talking about the first sites, which is a source of frustration to all of us.”The removalists, on their way to Adelaide on July 9, then stopped at a Ballan petrol station and fast-food outlet to take a shower and remained there for more than two hours – in direct breach of permit conditions, which allow people to take only brief stops where absolutely necessary.CCTV footage revealed the men were still not wearing masks.Penalties for people caught flouting Covid-19 restrictions include $1652 fines for breaching public health guidelines and fines of $4957 for those who fail to self-isolate or enter the state from a red zone without an exemption.Those who provide misleading information on permit or exemption applications can also face fines of $1652.

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