Inside an Australian “Quarantine Camp” Exclusive story
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By now, most people are aware of the video from inside a “quarantine camp” in Australia that shows the insanity coming from Down Under. Here’s the video if you missed it.
Shortly after, we were contacted by Sheri who also just returned from a two week stay in a similar situation after returning to Australia from a trip to the United States.
We think it’s important for her to story to be told in her own words. Below is Sheri’s story. Please share this far and wide to help these draconian experiences to end as soon as possible.
When I travelled to America for the first time in September of this year, I knew when I returned in November, I would be held for two weeks in mandatory quarantine – locked in a hotel room for 14 days.
Over the course of the last two years, Australia has been dipping its toes into Authoritarianism. It may have been longer than that and I have just been too blind to see it – I am a self-confessed baby Libertarian and only just beginning to open my eyes to what’s going on around me in what we used to call “the lucky country”. Australians, for the majority, are pretty content with the perceived notion of safety if it means giving up liberty (see: 1996 National Firearms Agreement) and COVID-19 really made that apparent.
I wanted to share my experiences from the last 8 months.
Applying to Leave Australia
Australia’s solution to keeping Covid out was to create a bunch of hoops for citizens (and non-citizens) to jump through in order to get in or out of Australia. Hundreds of thousands of people applied through the government asking permission to leave/enter Australia for various reasons – the vast majority get declined.
On top of this, Australia drastically reduced the travel caps into Australia – at one point as low as only 3000 people being allowed into the entire country per week. This, in turn, meant the airlines start pulling out of coming to Australia at all (why send planes all the way down here with no one on them), and flights started getting cancelled and soon there were (and I believe still are), 10s of thousands of Aussies trying to get home (and the ones that did finally get in, then had to be put into mandatory hotel quarantine – at their own cost, for 2 weeks).
This has meant people have been unable to be with loved ones for weddings, funerals, births and worse yet – as a family member lay on their deathbed. It’s been heartbreaking to be part of the various Facebook support groups for people desperately trying to find ways to get the government to approve their individual requests.
So when my friend in North Carolina told me he had a Glioblastoma brain tumour, I knew I had to get to America fast to see him, but also knew my chances of being approved were slim-to-none.
I applied anyway - I got declined as expected. This process repeated 8 times over the course of three months, until, I expect, they got sick of me applying and my 8th application – which was no different to the 7th – got approved. Ahh, bureaucracy.
What does an application entail? 1. A statutory declaration including where I intended to go, when, why, where I was staying, when my return date was, etc. Some people’s applications have been hundreds of pages long with evidence of relationship statuses, utility bills, etc, etc depending on why they wish to travel.
Getting out was pretty easy. It was very unnerving being in the Sydney international airport (the main hub into and out of Australia) with nothing open and very few people about. It was equally unnerving being on a plane with only 20 people including staff. I couldn’t even see another passenger in economy with me.
From the moment I landed in LAX, then made my way over to Wilmington, North Carolina, the difference in attitude was startling. I immediately felt at home, relaxed and stress-free from all the knee-jerk lockdowns Australia was still going through.
I spent most of my time in NC, but towards the end of my trip I wanted to visit what is the home of liberty in my mind – New Hampshire. I fell in love immediately when I got there – it was beautiful, the leaves were falling, the people were wonderful, and I’ve never had such freedom. All the freedom. I never wanted to leave. I should have stayed.
Returning to Australia
As my time wound down in America, the dread started to set in and just over two weeks ago I boarded another empty plane and returned home. This is where the fun begins and as I entered the terminal at Raleigh, this would be the last time I would breathe fresh air for two weeks.
Before disembarking the plane in Sydney, Australian Federal Police boarded the plane and gave the few of us aboard the instructions for what was about to go down – we would be escorted through the terminal to a holding room, where we would be separated into groups and sent off to different hotels.
They assured us there was no difference in hotel but I did hear a cop say to a repatriating army serviceman, “Oh good, I am glad you got into that hotel… you don’t want to go into the other one, hah!” I was part of the group going to the “other one”. That was reassuring.
We received a happy little sticker telling us which hotel we were being put in.
After “intake” our groups boarded a bus (directly at the terminal door and surrounded by cops and army – no opportunity to run) – we travelled about 10 minutes to our hotel but stayed on the bus for an hour while they unloaded another bus.
Each passenger was “processed” into the hotel one at a time while everyone else sat in the bus in the blistering Aussie sun.
My turn arrived. A cop came onto the bus and directed me to follow him to the exterior of the hotel. I went to a representative of Queensland Health who made me change my mask, asked if I had any pressing health issues, made me sanitize my hands and assured me I was a guest. This “reassurance” was reiterated a few times over the next 15 minutes by each person I spoke with.
I was then escorted by police into the hotel lobby where I met a representative of the hotel at a makeshift desk in the middle of the area – all masks, sanitizer, plastic sheeting. They double-checked my details, told me about the room, confirmed there was no laundry but I could wash clothes in the bath (and here I was with all dirty clothes after failing to do laundry before I left America).
At this time I was advised the swipe card I was given would open the room door once – to get in. It would not work again. If I dropped it outside the room or locked myself out, the cameras filming my door would see and someone would come up to assist me – I would not be able to use the stairs or call the elevator. I would also be fined if I attempted to leave the room, or if I opened the door without my mask on – the camera filming the door would catch me out.
After a final check with Queensland Health, another cop reiterated I must have a mask on when I open the door (and the only reason I would open the door would be for food deliveries, Covid tests, and to put trash out) or I would be fined.
Another cop walked me to the elevator and gave me directions to my room and that was it, I was alone in an elevator covered in black plastic sheeting (he referred to it as the “dirty zone”) and on my way.
During the encounter I was all smiles and pleasantries – I was told if you were nice they might at least give you a better room – no such luck. I was a beacon of compliance – I will not be able to afford the $3000 it is going to cost me for this forced 5-star hotel experience, let alone thousands more if I did not fall into line.
The room was nice, considering the circumstances I was there. There was a bath, a beautiful view of the Brisbane river. There were amenities for the entire stay and they insisted I ask for more if I needed them – there was coffee, tea, milk, sugar, lots of water, plastic bags for trash, towels and linen.
I saw other humans twice for the entire 2 weeks, and it was for a total of 5 minutes, for Covid tests on day 5 and 12. Otherwise, mysterious beings would leave bland and barely warm food at my door three times a day before ringing the doorbell and disappearing (thank goodness for Uber Eats).
There was no balcony or windows that opened – that part was difficult. I moved all the furniture around to ensure I would have room for exercise. My friends sent me care packages and thankfully, I had my computer and I had my liberty-loving friends in North Carolina and New Hampshire on calls with me every day to keep my spirits up and keep me distracted.
Thankfully the time went quickly but there were definitely a couple of days there I felt the walls closing in.
Thousands of people (both citizens and visitors) have gone through the same process. There have been some who were not able to get through the two weeks and have ended their own life or had very serious encounters with the police after they tried to escape the hotels. There have been some who were locked up in these facilities while their loved one succumbed to their illness on the outside, unable to hold on anymore – these tales are heartbreaking and show how inhumane the process is.
All in all, the experience was daunting and I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not regret my decision to go to America knowing what would happen when I returned – the trip was too important and the memories I made ensured the unpleasantness at the end was worth it.