An Australian woman has described her time in one of the country’s mandatory supervised quarantine facilities, often reported as “quarantine camps,” as like being “in prison,” in an interview with British news site UnHerd.
Hayley Hodgson, 26, said she was picked up at her residence in Darwin in the Northern Territory (NT), sometime in mid-November, and taken to a mandatory quarantine facility when she lied to police about getting a COVID-19 test after she was identified as a close contact of a confirmed case—her friend.
Her friend had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, after becoming sick at work.
Authorities then knocked on Hodgson’s door after they had seen her with her friend, and ran the number plates of her scooter to find out where she lived.
It is not clear if authorities identified her and her scooter via CCTV footage. Neither is it clear if the authorities who knocked on her door were contact tracers or plain clothed police officers.
The NT police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“They came straight to my house. I didn’t get a call or anything. I literally walked out the front and it was two undercover investigators,” she said.
Hodgson confirmed to the officers that she knew the confirmed case, her friend, and told them the locations she had visited.
“They said, ‘Have you had a COVID test done?’ I said, ‘Yes, I had,’ when I hadn’t,” she said.
“Just because I was so scared in the moment and I had been to one of these quarantine camps before—only literally a month before this. So I know what it was like. I was just really scared. It was just a horrible position to be in and I just lied and said, ‘Look, yeah I have,’ when I hadn’t.”
The investigators then left and called her shortly afterwards to say they looked her up and couldn’t find a record of her test. Hodgson then admitted to them that she had lied about the test out of fear and apologized. She said that they told her to wait at home and someone would come to test her.
“No one came to test me. The next people to rock up at my house were two other police officers. They blocked my driveway,” she said. This time the officers were uniformed police, she said.
Hodgson walked out of her house and asked the police what was going on and if they were there to test her for COVID-19.
“They said, ‘No, you’re getting taken away, and you have no choice, you’re going to Howard Springs. You either come with us now and we’ll put you in the back of the divvy van or you can have a choice to get a COVID cab,’” she said.
She then chose to ride in the “COVID cab” to avoid the $5,000 fine associated with going in the police divisional van, or “divvy van,” which is a vehicle that can house people under arrest in a separate compartment from the officers.
In response to the CCP virus pandemic, Australia’s states and territories declared human biosecurity emergencies allowing each jurisdiction’s chief health officers to issue directives that become enforceable laws, which often override rights granted under the country’s constitution.
The police are then required to enforce compliance with the directives, often giving them the power to issue fines for non-compliance, as well as enter homes and detain people, and remove them to supervised quarantine facilities.