It seems like every day a country switches its coronavirus regulations, making travelers rush home from vacations early or ex-pats to find themselves stranded overseas.
But a current flight in Australia shows how state-by-state guidelines can also make traveling domestically uncertain.
Virgin Australia flight VA469 went from Brisbane and Perth on April 23 when state guidelines in Australia changed.
Western Australia declared a three-day lockdown for the Perth and Peel region, and Queensland (where Brisbane is) followed up by claiming that anyone coming to the country from Western Australia would be directed to a 14-day quarantine.
This should not have been a problem for VA469, as it appeared before the ban kicked in at midnight.
But due to a mechanical issue in Perth, the plane took off more than five hours late and landed in Brisbane after 1 a.m. on the 24th, according to reporting from CNN affiliate 9 News.
The arriving passengers were told they would have to spend 14 days quarantining in a hotel room instead of walking off the plane and leaving the airport.
“We know prevention measures can be inconvenient, but they are necessary to protect Queenslanders,” Dr. Jeannette Young, the state’s Chief Health Officer, told local press.
“Had Virgin been formally notified of this change before its departure, we would have delayed the departure of the aircraft and given passengers the option to stay in Perth,” a representative from Virgin Australia told CNN via email.
“This would have been in the passengers’ and Virgin Australia’s interests and is what we have done in the past with border changes.”
Australia has seen fewer than 30,000 Covid-19 cases and just 910 deaths during the pandemic as of April 28, thanks to its swift border closures.