Quarantine nightmare: ‘Never would have gone if I’d known’
A NURSE has been separated from her young son and placed in quarantine at the Victorian border - for living just one street away from the Gold Coast border.
Tweed nurse and model Gemma Mai flew into Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport on Sunday, when she was "pulled aside" by health and border security officers.
Ms Mai, also a former Miss Supercars finalist, said: "My ID said a NSW address.
"I live on Bay Street, it's so close. I literally have a bollard at the end of my street, indicating you can't drive up it, so you drive around through the border.
"I work in health care, I got out of NSW to Queensland by midnight on January 1. I did everything right, I've come to Victoria and because my residency is NSW, one street from the border, I've been detained.
"If I had said my address was Coolangatta and lied, which I wouldn't do, I would have been fine.
"I flew in (Sunday) and they pulled me aside, asked for my ID, provided all documentation, I even had a letter from my employer showing I work at South Coast Radiology.
"The documentation wasn't good enough. They said, 'You're in hotel quarantine for 14 days', and I said, 'What?'"
She had been staying in Rydges Hotel on the Gold Coast since Saturday in an effort to comply with border restrictions.
But at Tullamarine Airport she was told because she had been in NSW in the past 14 days she would go into quarantine - leaving her cut off from her job and unable to get home to her 11-year-old son.
Her quarantine stay is costing her $3000, she said.
"The flight was all booked, I did all the travel requirements and (the information I found said) I can travel from Queensland," she said.
"I couldn't find anywhere, and neither could anyone else, that you couldn't come if you've been to NSW. I haven't gone to Sydney, I haven't been in a COVID hotspot.
"I never would have gone if I'd known."
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has been contacted for comment on the situation.
Ms Mai claimed an official had indicated to her late on Monday they were "escalating" her case to examine if she had been "wrongfully detained".
A release by the department on January 1 said: "Victoria's border with NSW will close this evening at 11.59pm.
"Anyone who tries to enter Victoria (after then), who does not have an exemption to enter, will be turned away and will need to find alternative accommodation in New South Wales."
Originally published as Coast mum's quarantine nightmare: 'Never would have gone if I'd known'