Townsville Bulletin

Nervous wait for family


A CHARITY has stepped in to help a Townsville mum bring her son home from New South Wales after spending almost three months apart due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Nate Russell flew to Orange in June to visit his grandparen­ts, but got stuck across the border when Queensland slammed the door shut to New South Wales.

His mother, Kaycee Thomas, has been battling to get her son home since, but with the cost of hotel quarantine and flights blowing out to about $6000, the expense was too much for the local mum.

Now, Angel Flight Australia has stepped in, offering to pick up Nate, 10, and fly him home.

However, the mercy flight is now in the hands of Queensland Health, which has yet to determine whether he’ll be allowed to quarantine at home.

Ms Thomas was forced to enrol Nate at a school in Orange and was preparing to not see him until after Christmas as coronaviru­s runs riot in the southern state.

Speaking to the Townsville Bulletin last week, Ms Thomas said she was struggling not seeing her son.

“Sometimes I just break down; he’s OK, but I know he is missing everyone at home,” Ms Thomas said.

Angel Flight Australia chief executive Marjorie Pagani said they could have a plane ready within 24 hours.

“Angel Flight has today written to the CHO (chief health officer) and Queensland Premier, outlining a transport plan which would ensure no public transport was used, nor members of the public would be subject to exposure,” Ms Pagani said.

“We advised that our pilots and aircraft strictly comply with regulation­s, and that the pilots do not come into contact with (anyone) other than crew and the passengers, in this case Nate,” she said.

Ms Pagani said Ms Thomas would be carried on the plane to Orange and not exit the airfield. “We are awaiting a response (from the government) to our offer of help.”

Last week, Health Minister Yvette D’ath guaranteed any young child stuck in a different state to their parents would be granted an exemption to reenter the state, as long as the entire household agreed to 14 days of at-home quarantine.

Ms Thomas applied for her son’s exemption on Saturday and was awaiting a response.

She said the process was unnecessar­ily hard.

“I filled it out as best I could, but even the people on the helpline couldn’t really answer some of my questions.”

Queensland Health said it could not provide details about Nate’s exemption or when an outcome would be known.

 ??  ?? Kaycee Thomas with her son Nate Russell, who has been stuck in Orange, NSW.
Kaycee Thomas with her son Nate Russell, who has been stuck in Orange, NSW.

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