Covid: Woman in Australia jailed for six months over quarantine breach

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Image caption, Western Australia has introduced strict coronavirus restrictions

A woman has been jailed for six months in Australia for breaching coronavirus quarantine rules.

Asher Faye Vander Sanden, 28, had spent a month in the state of Victoria, which has been hit heavily by Covid-19.

She was permitted to fly home to Perth, Western Australia, and quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at her own expense.

But she instead arrived secretly in the state in a truck and stayed at her partner's home, where she was later arrested.

In Western Australia, people found to have broken quarantine laws face a maximum penalty of 12 months' imprisonment or a $50,000 (£27,000) fine.

Vander Sanden's lawyer, John Hammond, said she had travelled to Victoria to take care of her unwell sister, but returned because she couldn't cope.

She self-quarantined at her partner's home and did not have contact with anyone else, the lawyer said.

But Senior Constable McDowall called Vander Sanden "deceitful and dishonest" and called for jail time.

Magistrate Andrew Matthews said she had committed "a very serious offence" that could have resulted in an outbreak of the virus, and sentenced her to six months behind bars.

States have implemented tough restrictions on crossing state boundaries after the virus had a resurgence.

Among the rules are:

  • Nobody is permitted to enter Western Australia unless you are granted an exemption (which Vander Sanden was)
  • South Australia is requiring visitors to quarantine unless they are from Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territories and Tasmania. Residents from Victoria are not allowed to enter at all
  • In New South Wales, residents returning from Victoria must go into hotel quarantine for 14 days
  • Residents of Queensland must quarantine for two weeks in provided accommodation if they have visited a "hotspot" within the last two weeks - Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory

The harsh rules have left thousands of Australians stranded, while some have been unable to be at the burial of loved ones.

At least three other people have been jailed for breaches of quarantine rules.

In April, Jonathan David was sentenced to six months and two weeks - with one month suspended - for leaving his quarantine hotel to visit his partner.

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