Video has emerged of large queues of people ignoring physical distancing rules after arriving at Sydney Airport today.
- The person who filmed the video claimed Australian Border Force officers said biosecurity were responsible to queue management
- Sydney Airport said security guards were now at terminals to “remind people of their obligations”
- A union said the airport environment posed an infection risk for passengers and workers
The vision was filmed this morning in the airport’s international arrivals hall, and showed people huddled together in long lines, waiting to get out of the terminal.
It flew in the face of strong messaging from the Federal Government to maintain physical distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Guidelines recommended people stayed at least 1.5 metres away from others, and that crowds and public gatherings be avoided.
The video was posted on social media by Sally Prosser, who told the ABC it was filmed by a family member.
“I just feel like it was a real kick in the guts to everyone out there doing the right thing,” Ms Prosser said.
“At the front line, there’s nothing, there’s no one even encouraging people to stand apart.”
Ms Prosser said the person who filmed the video asked Australian Border Force (ABF) officers why people weren’t being distanced.
She said they were told ”not our problem, that’s biosecurity”.
“I think it’s not good enough,” Ms Prosser said.
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Sydney Airport said in a statement it had now placed security guards in its terminals to “remind people of their obligations”.
It said its priority in any crisis is the health and safety of its staff and that of everyone who comes to the airport.
Drastic reduction of flights and travel restrictions meant the departure side of the airport was mostly empty. (ABC News: Myles Airport Houlbrook-Walk)
The union which represented public sector workers, including Biosecurity and ABF officers, blamed the Federal Government for the scenes.
“All passengers are undergoing increased health screening,” the Community and Public Sector Union said.
“The testing space is too small for all passengers, and disembarking is not being staggered to allow for social distancing.
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“The Departments of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and Home Affairs, must listen to the concerns of their front-line workforce who have been flagging these concerns for weeks.
“What we have seen at Sydney Airport is a direct failure of government,” it said.
The ABF has been contacted for comment.