The family of a limo driver who is understood to be Sydney’s Delta strain ‘patient zero’ have put their side of the story across and cast serious doubts on the assertion that he was the first with virus.
The driver has been subject to blame and criticism since the outbreak first emerged.
Authorities said he was unvaccinated while transporting international aircrews to and from Sydney airport before sparking infections across Bondi.
NSW Police carried out investigation into his behaviour but found there was insufficient evidence to establish that he breached any public health orders.
Now his son has started a GoFundMe page and explained the family’s side of the story.
He said that on the weekend of June 12 and 13 when NSW Health claims his dad spread the virus to two people during fleeting contact at Westfield Bondi Junction and a Vaucluse cafe, he also spent between four to five hours at his home with family – but nobody caught the virus.
He said his dad has become a “scapegoat” for the outbreak by the government and the media.
“My father always wore gloves, masks and sanitised his vehicles between passengers and this was confirmed by the numerous people that police interviewed during their investigation,” he said.
“All international air crew that he drove have tested negative to COVID, so how on earth could Gladys Berejiklian, Dr Kerry Chant and Brad Hazzard go on public television and make unsubstantiated claims that he is patient zero?
“Being the first to test positive doesn’t make you patient zero. Remember: he is only getting tested because he’s required to for his job.
“We all know that Covid can be asymptomatic for the majority of people. Surely they realise it could have been in the community for some time undetected?”
He said his dad spent 4-5 hours with his younger sister and her children on June 11, “doing all the things that grandparents do – hugs, kisses, mealtime”.
“None of them have to this day tested positive to COVID,” he said.
“How is it that such a contagious disease skipped his children and grandchildren, but infected a man in his 50s at Myer the same morning? That is why he thinks he got it out and about in the community.”
NSW Health believes the driver caught the Delta strain of the virus on Friday, June 11, before he spent the weekend travelling around the eastern suburbs with his wife, visiting Belle Cafe in Vaucluse and shopping at Westfield Bondi Junction.
He is believed to have shared the virus with a man in his 50s he passed at Myer, while in another similarly brief moment at the cafe it is thought a woman in her 70s contracted the same virus.
However, the son said his dad may have caught the virus the following day at a cafe.
“The following day (June 12th) my parents went to Belle Cafe and they report someone there coughing and sneezing. That is why they suspect they got it out and about,” he said.
The son said his dad is an “honest, hard working and well respected man who did nothing but follow all of the health orders given to him”.
“We have been beside ourselves with stress. The stress of mum and dad having Covid in addition to the stress of wondering if the police are going to charge my father for simply doing his job whilst following all health orders,” he said.
“The government insisted in ordering additional investigations in an attempt to pin this on him.”
He said the GoFundMe page is about showing support for his dad.
“It breaks my heart that he and my mother have had to endure this mindless scapegoating by a government that cannot seem to get things under control and have opted to blame, rather than protect, an individual who has simply done nothing wrong,” he said.
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