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  • Writer's pictureAisling Salisbury

My Trip to Australia - Quarantine Day Seven #noRona

Day 7 (technically 6) - Friday, June 4th 2021

The routine continues, but the phone rings earlier than normal because it's the Hotel Doctor.

That can't be good, can it?

The doctor tells me that my test was negative and as such, they'll forward it to the exemptions team and let the Police know that they will have to transport me to the airport tomorrow. Yay! I'm going to get a ride in the back seat of a Police Car, never thought I'd be doing that in my life, ever!

However, I was kinda expecting that to happen. Considering Australia's paranoia with Rona I seriously doubt they were going to say:

"Here's your permit to leave, not we trust you to get on the plane yourself".

The doctor added that I should hear from the exemptions team that afternoon and will be given all the paperwork that gives me permission to leave. When I add that the granting of the exemption was dependant on the genomic sequence of a passenger on my flight who apparently has COVID. It was the first she had heard of it. Based on the fact that I had also resigned myself that if I am still here after Sunday I'll just stick out the quarantine I asked if I'd still have to do the Day 7 COVID test considering as I just had one yesterday and she responded that I had to. With that extra test at least my nostrils are getting cleaned regularly. As I say, gotta find a silver lining somewhere.

I suppose the other silver lining was that it was Pancakes for breakfast.

But just as you find the positives you'll quickly come crashing down again. No, it wasn't the so-called and tasteless "Fajitas" for lunch. I get a phone call from the doctors at the exemption team that afternoon. It was unconfirmed if the passenger on my flight had a "strain of concern" or not and therefore I am considered a "close contact" so my application for an Exemption to leave the quarantine and return to the US would not be permitted. It was added that it will be reassessed each day so I may be granted permission to leave after the weekend. To which I replied that if it wasn't granted by Monday morning then cancel the application. This weekend was the halfway mark. Therefore, if I was permitted to leave this weekend I'd only be out of pocket about $1500. So I made the doctor laugh when I said:

"I've sadly lost more in Vegas and for less."

Looks like I'm here for the full two weeks.

I had to call the hotel doctor and advise her that there was no need for her to complete the paperwork for my release. She was disappointed for me but it ended up becoming a 15-minute conversation about the world's response to COVID. She was keen to hear about daily life in other countries and if it was as bad as the media and politicians make it out to be.

It was a really informative chat and it was clear this doctor would rather hear the story of daily life from the source of someone who is living it. I advised that case numbers aren't lived and breathed daily as religiously as it is in Australia as if it was a sports score. She advises me that she hears that frequently from returning Aussies. Now yes she shared stories of countries that are struggling like some of the returnees from India. But she stated that the world's efforts should be focused on helping less fortunate countries instead of a daily count of cases. Turning the focus to hospitalisation numbers, not case numbers. Even she said:

"If COVID was really that prevalent then surely we'd see far more people in the quarantine programme with it."

I couldn't agree more.

At no point did we dismiss the virus but it was refreshing to hear that some Australian's are starting to apply some common sense to this. But, I'm sensing that from NSW Health in general. They get it's serious, they get that the new strains are more contagious but they also understand that a handful of cases shouldn't destroy livelihoods. NSW might have screwed up with Ruby Princess, but perhaps, unlike other States, they have learnt from their mistakes.

On the subject of sports though.

For the first time in a year, I am the closes to a game I have ever been to. The Dees are playing only 18kms down the road. Their best season ever continues.

Thank god for the ability to see Chanel Seven's coverage and team for once.

But the disappointment was the announcement that the Queens Birthday game will be moved to the SCG. I think that's a missed opportunity. It really should've still been played at the MCG, but with the paranoia, it should've gone to the Adelaide Oval. The SCG might get a crowd but they'll be there for a social event. Whereas Adelaide folk would go for the game itself. Adelaide fans probably would've supported Melbourne because of Simon Goodwin and Port Fans would've supported the Demons because they hate that Collingwood wears Black and White and refuse to let Port play in their official colours.

Seriously AFL? It could've been the first time ever a stadium in Adelaide was filled with footy fans from Port and the Crows and they were both united for once.

The bigger issue is though, what do I do?

Considering I'm probably going to be here until next weekend when I get released. Should I just stay in Sydney and go to the game or go and see my loved ones in the Prison State of Victoria.

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