Quarantine food not fit for heart surgery recovery, say couple stuck in isolation

HARD TO SWALLOW: A woman who returned from heart surgery in Melbourne was offered this food, which she felt was not appropriate. Picture: Supplied
HARD TO SWALLOW: A woman who returned from heart surgery in Melbourne was offered this food, which she felt was not appropriate. Picture: Supplied

An Tasmnaian woman who went to Melbourne for heart surgery has found herself in a quarantine nightmare.

The woman and her husband from Ulverstone, who did not want to be named, packed enough clothes last Monday for a four day stay in Melbourne, only to find themselves facing possibly up to 18 days away.

The couple planned to be home on Friday in time for the woman to see her doctor for a post-surgery check and change of bandages.

But the Wednesday closure of the border with Victoria threw their plans out.

After arriving at the Burnie Airport on Friday, they were escorted by the police to the Gateway Hotel in Devonport where they were put in government-funded isolation.

"We had already put in an application for compassionate health reasons to go straight home. She was two days out of surgery and she was stressing out to the max."

A government spokesperson said applications for essential traveller status were assessed in order of arrival date, with emergency requests addressed as quickly as possible.

UNEXPECTED: The couple expected to be back in Ulverstone by Friday in time for the woman to have a post-operative check and bandage change.

UNEXPECTED: The couple expected to be back in Ulverstone by Friday in time for the woman to have a post-operative check and bandage change.

Responding to the complaint that the woman's heart surgery bandages weren't changed until Saturday night, the spokesperson said all guests got a health screening from GP Assist within 24 hours of checking in.

The husband said the meals supplied were full of either sugar or fat, which neither could eat because of their medical conditions.

After complaining, they were given a care package including bottled water and bathroom supplies, and later a bag of fruit.

We feel like caged animals.

"My wife is in tears constantly," the man said. "It's frustrating. We're angry, very miserable and very concerned about both of our health."

He said they couldn't get enough fresh air and had had one 10 minute exercise period since they arrived.

"We feel like caged animals," he said.

The spokesperson said access to exercise areas was case by case, depending on the hotel layout.

Family or friends could bring in food, or guests could buy it in.

Guests also had seven day a week access to government liaison officers, who could help with medical care, prescriptions or other items.