Passengers locked on train for 24 hours amid COVID fears

 

Queenslanders travelling through Australia's red centre have been locked in their train cabins for more than 24 hours after Greater Brisbane was plunged into a snap lockdown.

At least 20 people from Brisbane, Ipswich, Gladstone, Toowoomba and Byron are self-isolating on The Ghan train on its way from Adelaide to Darwin.

Susan Harris-Rimmer and her father Peter Harris remained locked in their cabin on Tuesday while the train was stopped at Katherine - unsure how long they would be isolated once it continued to Darwin.

 

The Ghan train at Katherine Station.
The Ghan train at Katherine Station.

 

"We're stuck in our cabins while everyone else, including Gold Coast folk, are off on tours," she said.

"Staff are trying to find out how to get us tested in Darwin and whether hotels are happy to have us."

Professor Harris-Rimmer, a Griffith University Innovation Policy director, has received her first COVID-19 jab and been tested for the virus.

"Most of us had negative COVID tests in South Australia but didn't seem to make a difference to Northern Territory Health.

"Dad and I have had the first AstraZeneca vaccination but that doesn't seem to make a difference either because it can still transmit the virus."

 

Chief Medical Officer declares Greater Brisbane a COVID hotspot: Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly has declared Greater Brisbane a COVID hotspot.
Chief Medical Officer declares Greater Brisbane a COVID hotspot: Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly has declared Greater Brisbane a COVID hotspot.

 

 

Despite the situation, Professor Harris-Rimmer said the Ghan had provided the "best lockdown views ever".

"We understand NT has a vulnerable First Nations population and we're happy to do what it takes to keep everyone safe," she said.

"Just let people be warned, even domestic tourism probably not a good idea until most of us are vaccinated.

"Your trip of a lifetime may not play out the way you think it will."

A spokeswoman for Ghan parent company Journey Beyond said Northern Territory Health had ordered 20 travellers, who are not considered high risk, into isolation until they receive a COVID-19 test in Darwin.

 

‘Inevitable’ Brisbane lockdown will be extended: Sky News host Peter Gleeson says he thinks it’s “inevitable” the three-day snap lockdown of Greater Brisbane will be extended. Greater Brisbane was plunged into the lockdown on Monday evening after four new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were detected, and on Tuesday a further eight cases have been recorded. “This is the greatest public health threat since the pandemic began, Queensland has been very fortunate,” Mr Gleeson said. “The contact tracing capabilities right now are being sorely tested.”

 

"Journey Beyond is working closely with authorities in response to the hard borders being imposed by various governments for guests from the greater Brisbane and Queensland areas," she said.

"Affected guests who have already arrived or are currently on-board from these regions are being required to follow instructions from state authorities.

"Journey Beyond is committed to providing safe journeys for guests and crew and will continue to follow advice from relevant authorities."

Originally published as Passengers locked on train for 24 hours amid COVID fears