'Patient zero' busted: Sydney limo driver stung over Covid breach

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Sep 2021, 11:54AM
A health worker at Bondi Junction in Sydney on July 13, 2021. (Photo / Getty Images)
A health worker at Bondi Junction in Sydney on July 13, 2021. (Photo / Getty Images)

'Patient zero' busted: Sydney limo driver stung over Covid breach

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Sep 2021, 11:54AM

The Sydney limousine driver dubbed the "index case'' in Australia's worst Covid outbreak has copped a A$500 ($519) fine for breaking NSW public health orders.

Police say the driver was not wearing a face mask while waiting at a bus stop – which is in breach of the strict rules in the state.

The Daily Telegraph reports the driver was sitting on an outdoor bench near his Bondi home without wearing a protective mask.

Authorities said he was unvaccinated while transporting international aircrews to and from Sydney airport before sparking the Delta outbreak that has overrun the state.

However, the limo driver insists that he may have caught the virus while dining at a local cafe.

NSW Police carried out an investigation into his behaviour, but found there was insufficient evidence to establish that he breached any public health orders.

His son started a GoFundMe page and explained the family's side of the story.

He said his dad has become a "scapegoat" for the outbreak by the NSW Government and the media.

"My father always wore gloves, masks and sanitised his vehicles between passengers and this was confirmed by the numerous people that police interviewed during their investigation.

"All international aircrew that he drove have tested negative to Covid, so how on earth could Gladys Berejiklian, Dr Kerry Chant and Brad Hazzard go on public television and make unsubstantiated claims that he is patient zero?

"Being the first to test positive doesn't make you patient zero. Remember: he is only getting tested because he's required to for his job.

"We all know that Covid can be asymptomatic for the majority of people. Surely they realise it could have been in the community for some time undetected?"

He said his dad spent 4-5 hours with his younger sister and her children on June 11, "doing all the things that grandparents do – hugs, kisses, mealtime".

"None of them have to this day tested positive to Covid," he said.

"How is it that such a contagious disease skipped his children and grandchildren, but infected a man in his 50s at Myer the same morning? That is why he thinks he got it out and about in the community."

NSW Health believes the driver caught the Delta strain of the virus on Friday, June 11, before he spent the weekend travelling around the eastern suburbs with his wife, visiting Belle Cafe in Vaucluse and shopping at Westfield Bondi Junction.

He is believed to have transmitted the virus to a man in his 50s he passed at Myer, while in another similarly brief moment at the cafe it is thought a woman in her 70s contracted the virus.

NSW recorded 1164 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 yesterday, and another three Covid-related deaths.

There have been 96 Covid-related deaths in NSW since June 16.

As of yesterday, 871 Covid patients were in NSW hospitals, with 143 people in intensive care, 58 of whom required ventilation.