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Man detained in Singapore after Covid misinformation

A man has spoken out about his experiences after he was left to sleep in a “cell” in Singapore amid airline Covid-19 confusions.

Early this year, Richard Grant had organised a trip to Thailand, but to his frustration, contracted Covid two weeks before leaving.

After a staff member from budget airline Jetstar told him he didn’t need a Covid test, rather a GP’s letter outlining his recovery, he thought he was set to travel.

When he reached Thailand and was sent back to Singapore, his trip became a nightmare, with his lack of evidence of having taken a Covid test resulting in him being locked in a “cell” in Singapore awaiting a flight home.

The Singapore Airport ‘cell’ where Mr Grant was detained. 2GB
Camera IconThe Singapore Airport ‘cell’ where Mr Grant was detained. 2GB Credit: Supplied

Mr Grant, from Darwin, on Thursday told 2GB he was “flat out scared”.

“I wasn’t entirely cooperative; I’d had a long day,” he said.

“It was 40 hours, I was locked up for; almost two full days,” he said.

“It was a filthy two bunk cell, it had a wash basin and that was all. There was no hot water, it was extremely cold and they wouldn’t give me any luggage.

“There was a guard at my door with a gun; I wasn’t going anywhere.”

There was no hot water and he was not allowed his luggage. 2GB
Camera IconThere was no hot water and he was not allowed his luggage. 2GB Credit: Supplied

“They didn’t really understand, I don’t think, the fact I was effectively in jail. That’s the bit they couldn’t get their head around.

Mr Grant, who was prepared and “booked in” for a pre-flight Covid test, said Jetstar had told him he didn’t need a test because it had been two weeks since an infection.

In messages shared to 2GB radio, Mr Grant attempted to contact Jetstar from his holding room, but did not get immediate support.

Mr Grant’s conversation with Jetstar before a staff member came to help him in Singapore. 2GB
Camera IconMr Grant’s conversation with Jetstar before a staff member came to help him in Singapore. 2GB Credit: Supplied

Mr Grant said Jetstar had offered to reimburse him, but he was most concerned about future flights which stopped at Singapore Airport, as he claims he is now banned from Singapore, however this is yet to be confirmed.

In a statement, Jetstar said it appreciates what a stressful situation Mr Grant was faced with.

“This happened during a period of unprecedented Government restrictions on global travel, which were changing frequently, which is why we continued to strongly recommend that all passengers regularly check the entry requirements of the country they were travelling to,” Jetstar said.

“A member of our team visited Mr Grant during his time in Singapore to provide support and options, to enable him to continue his journey as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the most immediate option to travel was not taken up by Mr Grant, extending his time in Singapore.

“We sympathise with Mr Grant and sincerely regret any misunderstanding that may have occurred prior to travel. We will reach out to him once again to discuss what additional support we can provide.”

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