Quarantine seen from both sides

Published on LCDR John Thompson (author), LSIS Jarrod Mulvihill (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation COVID-19 ASSIST

Petty Officer Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Peter Bellas at the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel during Operation COVID-19 ASSIST. (photo: LSIS Jarrod Mulvihill)
Petty Officer Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Peter Bellas at the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel during Operation COVID-19 ASSIST.

Petty Officer Maritime Logistics­­­ - Supply Chain Peter Bellas knows more than most about mandatory quarantine.

In April he undertook 14 days of mandatory quarantine in a Sydney hotel after returning from Operation MANITOU where he was conducting maritime security operations in the Middle East.

He is now posted to Operation COVID-19 ASSIST, helping new arrivals check into their quarantine hotels.

Petty Officer Bellas said the trip home was different.

“There were about 25 of us sitting apart, social distancing and the flight crew were wearing masks and gloves,” Petty Officer Bellas said.

“Arriving in Sydney was strange and surreal. The only people in the airport were police, health officials and ADF personnel.”

Petty Officer Bellas and his fellow passengers went through police and health checks before going through customs, picking up their luggage then boarding waiting buses bound for their quarantine hotel.

“My experience means I understand some of the emotions these people are going through,” he said.

“I found staying connected with friends and family and creating a routine, including meal times and exercising helped get me through the 14 days.

“I did watch a lot of TV.”

Petty Officer Bellas is one of about 1200 ADF personnel deployed across NSW, on Operation COVID-19 ASSIST to support the Australian Government’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.