A FRANTIC search is underway for passengers who flew into an international airport from a coronavirus-ravaged city and cleared security without proper health checks.
It’s now feared some of the travellers on board the Jetstar flight may have already jumped on connecting flights and flown to other countries around the world.
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New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant confirmed the passengers were allowed past security while health officers were screening another flight.
Contact tracing is now taking place to track the movements of those that disembarked Jetstar flight JQ520 in Sydney on Tuesday evening after flying in from Melbourne.
Eighty nine of the 137 passengers were caught, screened and cleared before leaving the airport after officials “acted quickly” and intercepted them before they made it into the city.
It’s not yet been reported if any of the dozens “missing” have boarded flights to head elsewhere.
“Passengers were disembarked when the health screening team were screening another airline,’ Ms Chant revealed at a press conference earlier today.
“We are in the process of tracing them up.
“If anyone has travelled in breach of any orders, we will report them to police and take the appropriate action depending on whether anyone is symptomatic to ensure the community is protected.”
Sydney airport has now put in place special measures to ensure no passengers slip through the net in the future.
A Jetstar spokesman later revealed the airline was working with NSW Health to help track down passengers.
“Together with Sydney Airport, we have refined our disembarkation procedures to prevent this situation occurring again,” the airline added.
Greens MP Cate Faehrmann called on regional Health Minister Brad Hazzard to probe the incident after he had earlier vowed all passengers arriving from Victoria would be screened when landing in Sydney.
“It’s gobsmacking that such an event could occur in NSW after the Ruby Princess debacle,” Ms Faehrmann said in a statement.
The comment was a reference to the cruise ship which let travellers disembark in Sydney despite the it being riddled with the deadly virus.
Hundreds of cops and soldiers are being deployed on major roads, bridges and even waterways to enforce the closure of Victoria’s border with New South Wales.
The stage three lockdown is being brought in as Victoria battles a second wave of the killer bug, with the state recording triple-digit infections for the second day in a row.
With the city of Melbourne going into lockdown, the entire state of Victoria is effectively being sealed off from the rest of the country from midnight on July 8.
Signs along the border warn motorists trying to escape that they will be hit with “big fines”.
About 650 police officers and 350 Australian Defence Force personnel will help fortify the closed border from 11.59pm local time, says the Canberra Times.
Those breaching rules risk being fined £6,000 or even jailed.