‘Very concerned’: Alarm over virus rules for truckies
TRUCK drivers and essential workers crossing the Queensland border from known coronavirus hot spots have been told they do not have to quarantine while they wait for test results.
Drivers have been advised to remain vigilant, self-isolate, keep records of close contacts for 14 days and stay away from the wider community after they have been waved through the Tweed border barrier.
Queensland health authorities last week told members of the freight and logistics industry they could continue their vital work, but must remain vigilant.
"Given the critical function served by our freight and logistics drivers in supporting the ongoing functioning of Australia, I understand that it is not practical to require these persons to quarantine when moving in and out of COVID-19 hot spots," chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said in a letter to the industry.
Western Australia is considering a mandatory COVID-19 test on arrival in the state.
However, Gold Coast Medical Association boss Dr Philip Morris said more needed to be done to keep the virus out of the state.
"I am very concerned they are not asking the truck drivers to do what everyone else is being asked to do, which is when you get tested, isolate until you have the results.
"The idea they get tested and just keep working seems quite ridiculous. What about contact at lunch breaks and rest stops and while fuelling?
"I think we have a problem here in terms of the border being porous to the virus coming."
However, Queensland Transport Association head Gary Mahon said the industry had been "incredibly vigilant", was working directly with the chief health officer had cleaning and COVIDsafe guidelines at truck stops.
"Drivers are also expected to self-isolate. A lot of fleets have set up their own isolation accommodation arrangements for out-of-state drivers."
Mr Mahon said the industry had also advocated for pop-up testing clinics for drivers in larger vehicles.
A Gold Coast truck driver who spoke to the Bulletin on the condition of anonymity said he was not concerned about spread given the limited contact drivers had with the wider community.
"We unload outside, we are in our cabs alone all day, there is no contact," he said.
Transport Workers Union national secretary Micheal Kaine said he was concerned about workplaces where drivers were pressured to keep working.
"Just as the financial pressure on some transport operators results in deadly practices that see drivers forced to speed, drive long hours and skip breaks, so too drivers may be forced to turn up for work with virus symptoms," he said.
"Our call is for major retailers, manufacturers and oil companies to ensure that their contracts for the transportation of their goods allows for drivers to take adequate time off if they need to self-isolate and get tested.
"Drivers take their role and responsibility seriously and we would urge wealthy clients to ensure that drivers can do their job in a way that keeps them and the wider community safe."
Originally published as 'Very concerned': Alarm over virus rules for truckies