Australian Soldiers Sent To Afghanistan Not Allowed To Fly Home Because Of Covid Rules

Australia sent soldiers to Afghanistan to rescue refugees and they aren’t being allowed to return home due to Covid-19 protocols. The country only allows a limited number of ‘state quarantine’ beds each day, there’s a give figure backlog of Australians who have been stranded abroad for the duration of the pandemic and have been reserving beds. As a result these soldiers are stuck in Dubai, waiting for “a special exemption to quarantine in the hotel system” from the state of Queensland (whose capital and most populous city is Brisbane).

A government source said an application had been sent to Queensland Health to bring the soldiers home, under the same model used by the National Rugby League to bring 100 wives and girlfriends to Queensland.

“It’s the same model .. we’d find the hotels but we’ve heard nothing from Queensland Health,’’ the source said.

Need I mention that Nicole Kidman just flew to Australia on a whim after leaving Hong Kong early – where she’d gotten special dispensation to enter as well. Yes, her entry into Australia was probably New South Wales rather than Queensland, where she’s skipped state quarantine earlier this year as well.

Starting September 13, new freedoms by the way will be permitted for fully vaccinated households in local government areas of concern in the Australian state of New South Wales:

households with all adults vaccinated will be able to gather outdoors for recreation (including picnics) within the existing rules (for one hour only, outside curfew hours and within 5km of home). This is in addition to the one hour allowed for exercise.

Don’t tell me Australians are happy with their lockdowns, and that this is all just a consequence of it. That’s part of the failure of Australia during this latter phase of the pandemic.

(HT: @crucker)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s like punching a rabbit in the face and telling your friends it was a kangaroo.

    Huge fail….

  2. Australia is a JOKE. All they’re doing is prolonging the inevitable and holding the entire country hostage. Time to open ALL the borders. Herd immunity is the only way out of this

  3. Australia & New Zealand are two peas in a pod. Basket cases.
    No wonder they don’t want to be truly independent. Wouldn’t know what to do.
    Better to be tethered to the Crown.

  4. Politicians need to come to grips with the fact (and it is) that COVID will be with us forever – in one variant or another. You cannot eradicate an airborne virus. So, this is truly absurd (as are the inconsistent border limitations that many other nations impose).

    Lockdowns do not work, if they did – we would have had the media shouting it from the highest mountain. Masks are not very effective, given that most people need to wear a cloth mask. Fact is, none of this does much. Social distancing can be effective, but it’s failing is that people tend not to do this with friends/family. No, we need to learn to live our lives with this – just as we have with every infection in human history.

  5. What a shit show. Get everyone vaccinated and open the world back up. Those that choose not to can suffer the consequence. Only caveat is non-vaccinated without a suitable exception to vax should shoulder their healthcare cost. Vaccines prevent serious illness and death in all but the most compromised individuals.

  6. So they are stuck in Dubai, a tourist destination, likely with no orders, likely with a spending allowance and lodging. I know some have families they miss, but there is no guarantee that they would be headed home to families anyway, maybe just back to active duty. So its very possible some are enjoying extended shore leave.

  7. Gary,

    “…new freedoms by the way will be permitted…:

    – households
    – with all adults vaccinated
    – will be able to gather outdoors for recreation (including picnics)
    – within the existing rules (for one hour only,
    – outside curfew hours and
    – within 5km of home).
    – This is in addition to the one hour allowed for exercise.

    Gary you use the word “freedom” in an unusual way.

  8. Sigh. And Australia started off so well. Over the past half year or so they’ve become increasingly odd about Covid. Maybe, just maybe, they’re doing crazy stuff like this to induce more people to get vaccinated. I certainly can’t think of any other rational reason to act this way.

  9. I’m currently locked down in Melbourne – we have had a total of 215 days and counting since the pandemic started (now no. 2 in the world after Buenos Aires). Today we have had 210 cases and no deaths.
    Our moronic Victorian Premier wont commit to opening even when we get to 70% or 80% fully vaccinated (currently have 64% one jab and 35% with both)
    In spite of this , his approval rating is sky high and would romp home if there was an election tomorrow.
    To his credit, our Federal Prime Minister, is trying to “extract teeth” from the state leaders and get then to commit to opening on the 70or 80% targets. They have agreed but are retreating from this , with the exception of the Sydney (NSW) Premier
    State borders are closed and so are the international ones.
    I’m lucky that I’m able to WFH plus have a wife , a nice home (with garden) and have had both jabs. That said, I’m jealous of you lot who can travel.

  10. Greetings from Queensland.
    Actually the Queensland govt will give the soldiers the same or better terms than the Rugby League, they can quarantine in their own “bubble”.
    And do remember that all Australians are thanking God they’re not in a third-world jurisdiction with rampant Covid such as the US.
    You know how many cases there are in the community in Queensland right now? None. So please don’t criticise our tight border restrictions

  11. Pretty sure Australia will be soon after Taiwan in terms of takeover targets by China. They are already economically controlled by China, soon to be politically too. They used to have this tough image of crocodile dundee or steve irwin. Now they just look like a bunch of controlled sheep scared of the world. China should have no problem with them. And not like their military protector the US will do much about it.

  12. Right. So public safety should take a back seat to politics.
    Just like the good old U.S. of A.
    I think the Aussies will be fine.

  13. Those rules only exist because soldiers and cops enforce it. If those soldiers and “hero” cops said no to enforcing these draconian Covid rules/speech laws/anti religious freedom laws/anti freedom of association laws in hiring, schooling, and housing, there wouldn’t be any problems.

  14. Another travel blogger republished a piece by someone calling Australia a COVID
    prison (written by someone not actually in Australia, for what it’s worth). So I called some of my friends in VIC and NSW and asked them if they felt they were in prison. Unsurprisingly (to me anyway) none of them felt anything of the kind, though they all acknowledged they would prefer of course not to be in lockdown etc. I guess it depends on who you talk to.

  15. Hi Belinda,
    I am a backwards Canadian but I agree with your country’s policies. We in Ontario, Canada have over 77% double vax rate but we have to deal with morons who selfishly refuse to take the jab. And they protest maskless on our streets on a daily basis.

    Well I guess the Conservative Party and PPC -whatever that is- will not win because 20% of their voters will be dead or hospitalized. Darn.
    Too bad I left Catholicsm. Or I would say a prayer for them.

  16. @ Gary Leff

    You have completely lost the plot. This is FAKE NEWS from SKY NEWS, you blithering idiot, within the backdrop of upcoming federal election.

    At least have the basic integrity to present the other side of the story:

    As federal employees these soldiers could be accommodated for quarantine at the national facility in Howard Spring Northern Territory.

    The federal government is seeking SPECIAL EXEMPTIONS (i.e. more “freedoms” such as mobility within the Queensland hotel quarantine system) for the troops to enter the state of Queensland, where quarantine requirements are mandated for overseas arrivals.

    SKY (FAKE) NEWS is twisting the storyline, you stupid idiot, by conflating return to Australia with entry to QLD, to stir up the anti-QLD narrative (which is Labor Party “Democrat”) to save the hide of the incumbent federal government (which is Liberal-National “Republican”), the latter facing a wipe out in an upcoming election given a 54%-46% poll split.

    Yet again, you prove to be pig ignorant about matters Australian, which wouldn’t really matter except your are irresponsibly feeding false and negative perceptions about another country.

    This blog has become a disgrace.

    Shame on you, Gary Leff.

    Meditate on your 650,000 dead compatriots.

  17. Hey Gary!

    How long does “moderation” take after I send a correction?


  18. For perspective:

    “…A number of foreign contractors who helped power the logistics of America’s war in Afghanistan are now stranded in Dubai as the US continues its withdrawal from the war-torn country, according to a new report.
    Those who worked as cleaners, cooks, construction workers, servers and technicians on US bases in Afghanistan are stuck in limbo at hotels across Dubai following a rushed evacuation from Afghanistan…”

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