NSW Health authorities have failed to conduct health screenings for a Melbourne- to-Sydney flight on the evening before NSW-Victoria border closures came into effect, as they were busy checking another plane.
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant told reporters on Wednesday there was an “issue at the airport” in which passengers on board Jetstar flight JQ520 were able to disembark without a COVID-19 screening.
“There was an issue at the airport where passengers were disembarked when the health screening team were screening another airline,” Dr Chant said.
“The airport have now put in protocols to ensure the health teams are there and able to do the screening and no one’s allowed to disembark when that happens.”
A Jetstar spokesman told AAP on Wednesday the airline assisted NSW Health in finding most passengers before they left the terminal.
They have also provided health authorities with the aircraft manifest in order to contact any passengers who left without a screening.
All passengers who disembarked the flight should currently be in 14 days of self-isolation as part of NSW coronavirus protocols.
“All of the individuals are known, you get tickets when you’re on a plane, we are in the process of chasing them up,” Dr Chant said.
“If anyone’s travelled in breach of orders, we’ll refer them to police and take the appropriate action depending if anyone is symptomatic.”
Jetstar also said temperature and ID checks were undertaken by Victoria Health before embarkation.
“Together with Sydney Airport, we have refined our disembarkation procedures to prevent this situation occurring again,” the spokesman said.
NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann called on NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to investigate the incident after he made earlier assurances all passengers arriving from Victoria would be screened at Sydney Airport.
“It’s gobsmacking that such an event could occur in NSW after the Ruby Princess debacle,” Ms Faehrmann said in a statement.