*Andrew and Maria McMahon leaving the Costa Luminosa (Photo: Maria McMahon)

Reporter Kate Rafferty spoke to two cruise ship passengers now confined to a hotel in Perth. They describe Australian quarantine conditions as “insane”.

More than 200 Australians who were onboard the Costa Luminosa and Costa Victoria cruises when COVID-19 took hold, are back in Perth – but some say “Mickey Mouse” quarantine conditions are raising new health fears.

Siblings Maria and Andrew McMahon are experienced travellers and health professionals. They describe the quarantine process in Australia as “a farce” – thrown together without adequate planning or an effective health strategy.

Ms McMahon, who is the Deputy CEO of Hepatitis NSW, and Andrew, a retired radiologist, spent eight days in quarantine onboard their luxury cruise ship Costa Luminosa, which was also carrying dozens of passengers infected with the coronavirus.

A mask for staff, but no gloves. In quarantine on the Costa Luminosa (Photo: Andrew McMahon)

Italian bus drivers donned full protective gear to transport cruise ship passengers (Photo: Maria McMahon)

Dividers are taped inside Rome’s busses to separate drivers and passengers. (Photo: Andrew McMahon)

They then spent a further eight days in quarantine in a hotel in Rome, before Costa Cruises could secure their flight home.

They say their quarantine experience in Italy, while not perfect, was far above anything they’ve experienced since their return to Australia.

As international travellers who’d been exposed to the virus, they expected to see extra precautions and receive regular medical attention.

*The only information Maria and Andrew McMahon have received in quarantine (Photo: Maria McMahon)

Instead, they say airports and hotels have not provided adequate tests, health-checks, communication or information to the group of travellers since they arrived in Perth.

Now half-way through their quarantine period inside the city’s Crown Hotel, they believe the “shambolic” process is merely “soothing the public” into a false sense of security.



— Story and audio interview, Kate Rafferty @katerafferty99