Grafton couple Ross and Karen McGarvie on their way to the airport in Rome after disembarking the Costa Victoria in Italy on Sunday. The couple have been flown back to Australia where they will be in lockdown in Western Australia for the next two weeks.
Grafton couple Ross and Karen McGarvie on their way to the airport in Rome after disembarking the Costa Victoria in Italy on Sunday. The couple have been flown back to Australia where they will be in lockdown in Western Australia for the next two weeks.

Grafton couple’s ‘back door’ escape from viral epicentre

AFTER spending a worrying few weeks aboard the Costa Victoria cruise ship which was heading to the COVID-19 epicentre of Italy, Grafton couple Karen and Ross McGarvie are now safely back in Australia.

Their daughter Danielle was relieved her parents were able to fly out of Rome on Sunday and said they were due to land in Perth around 3.30pm (Monday) after stopping briefly in Qatar.

Danielle said her parents spent the final six days on the boat in their cabin isolating after one case of COVID-19 was confirmed.

"They were barely being told anything on board. I was telling my parents more (from Australia's news coverage) then what they were being told on the ship."

She said after her parents disembarked in Italy they were put on buses "16 people per bus" to get to the Rome airport.

"It was all done through back doors sort of stuff. There was no talking to people. They had to hand in their passports (which they got back before boarding the plane).

"They're now on a charter flight. I don't know who's paying for it, they assume Costa is." She said once her parents arrive in Perth, they will be transported to a hotel where they will stay in isolation for two weeks.

"People from WA go to Rottnest Island and people from other states get put into hotels where they cannot leave their rooms (under guard) and use room service to eat."

Danielle believed there was only the one case of COVID19 confirmed on the boat. "No-one else has been sick as far as I know, no Australians which is good."

She said she wasn't sure whether her parents then had to spend another two weeks in quarantine when they arrived back in Sydney because they have changed states but she is realistic that she won't be see her parents in the flesh for a while.

"I'm thinking I won't be seeing them for months. I don't really care about that. As long as they get back into Australia I don't mind. They aren't worried about that either. They're just happy to be back in the country."

She said her parents were able to phone her from Rome, the first time they were able to speak to one other in weeks.

"It was such a relief to hear their voices. I just cried. My mum was crying too. She couldn't believe they were actually on their way home to Australia."


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