Border Force returns to work before receiving positive test results for coronavirus

Date: Apr 03, 2020

Two Australian Border Force officials have tested positive for coronavirus. One is located in Queensland, while the other is in New South Wales, reports ABC News. As countries do their best worldwide to slow the pandemic and follow social distancing guidelines, there are growing concerns over how employers may be failing to protect staff and the general public.

Several Australian Border Officials were tested after processing American passengers that were leaving the Ruby Princess cruise ship and flying to the United States. According to SBS News, four other ABF officers who came into contact with the passengers were also tested, and their results returned negative results. However, they remain in self-isolation until 8 April.

Passengers from Ruby Princess represent about 10 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Australia – with over 400 people infected.

A Border Force official spoke to SBS News, but chose to remain anonymous as he spoke about the conditions. Among many concerning aspects, there's many questionable decisions that seem to neglect the health of employees and the public.

Australian Border Force officials worked while awaiting results

The two officials who tested positive returned to work while still waiting to hear back on their tests. As they ultimately tested positive, there's concern of how many people they came into contact with when they were aware it was possible they had contracted the virus.

The anonymous colleague described the situation: "It's negligence, there's no other word."

Lack of safety gear

Frontline staff were not provided adequate safety gear, like masks and gloves, until a video was shared on social media that revealed hundreds of passengers lined up at arrivals in Sydney Airport.

Once that hit television sets, there was more urgency to protect staff and the public.

Lack of urgency

The work stations officers used to process incoming travellers were not cleaned regularly, and weren't professionally sterilised until after two officials had tested positive for COVID-19.

Gerard Malouf and Partners recognises the devastating consequences when an employer is negligent, especially in demanding circumstances such as a global pandemic. GMP is an expect when it comes to public liability claims, and we're here to help. You can contact us for a free consultation here.

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