Good Samaritan will spend an extra two weeks in hotel quarantine while grieving a family tragedy because of one simple act of kindness
- Sean Ter Rahe arrived in Adelaide on November 2, going into hotel quarantine
- He spent two weeks before being told he would need to spend another fortnight
- His father-in-law died on day he was due to fly home to his family in Queensland
- Mr Ter Rahe is waiting to hear back if he can return early to be with his wife
A FIFO worker who selflessly gave up his spot on a flight is now having to undergo a second fortnight quarantining in an Adelaide hotel while grieving the loss of his father-in-law.
Sean Ter Rahe, 48, from Chinchilla, around 290km from Brisbane, had returned from working in Mali, Africa, on November 2.
Due to limited spots in hotels in Queensland, Mr Ter Rahe had planned to quarantine in Sydney but was asked to swap with another Sydney resident at the last-minute who had asked to be with their family.
So Mr Ter Rahe flew to Adelaide instead to begin his two week quarantine at the Peppers Waymouth Hotel.
He was due to leave for Queensland on Tuesday and be with his grieving wife, but due to a sudden increase in coronavirus cases, South Australia entered into a six-day lockdown and those quarantining at Peppers were made to isolate for another two weeks.
Sean Ter Rahe, (pictured with wife) arrived in Adelaide on November 2 to undergo his 14 day stay in hotel quarantine. Due to a sudden burst in coronavirus cases, he is now having to undergo another fortnight in the hotel
‘As a FIFO worker, I miss a lot of things. But I should have been there for this and that’s what hurts the most,’ Mr Ter Rahe told Daily Mail Australia.
While the 48-year-old was meant to return home on Tuesday, he received a call that his father-in-law had been put on life support.
Tragically he passed away on Wednesday morning.
A heartbroken Mr Ter Rahe is now hoping he will be able to leave quarantine earlier than November 30 so he can go home to his wife.
He said those staying in the hotel had been tested for the virus on day 12 of their first stay and won’t be tested again until the 26th.
‘You’d think they’d be testing us every few days. We’ve been left in the dark,’ he said.
A letter slipped underneath his door was the only message Mr Ter Rahe received to learn he would be spending another 14 days in the hotel followed by a short phone call.
He said he’s struggling to understand why the travellers who have tested negative remain holed up in their rooms.
The FIFO worker is now hoping to be released from hotel quarantine to go home to his wife who has recently lost her father
‘We’ve all done the right thing, and what happens if there’s another outbreak? Will we have to stay again?’ He said.
‘The food is absolute garbage. I’m not eating until I get on the plane.’
To make matters worse, the FIFO worker has been suffering from a toothache and has been unable to see a dentist.
‘I’m ready to pack my bag and walk out the door. I’ll probably get locked up but at least I’ll get my tooth looked at,’ he said.
Mr Ter Rahe said he’s been speaking to South Australian and Queensland authorities each day to see if he can be released any earlier.
He said he’d worked in Congo during the Ebola crisis where the health risks were much greater and none of the extreme measures taken by the Australian government were taken.
‘I’m getting to that point where I’m angry. Everyone tells me “I don’t know”,’ he said.
Mr Ter Rahe said he couldn’t understand why the travellers who tested negative days ago were still holed up in their rooms for another two weeks
‘I’ve been speaking to my wife and she’s trying not to cry so I don’t cry.’
He admitted that having a balcony and a bathroom made him much better off than other travellers but the not knowing of when they could go home was unbearable.
‘If we’re negative let us go? What’s the issue?’.
The Peppers Waymouth Hotel is believed to be the source of a cluster of cases in Parafield, Adelaide, which jumped to 23 on Wednesday.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier on Tuesday afternoon apologised for those stranded in hotel quarantine.
‘I absolutely sympathise and understand your frustration, but in terms of our public safety – not just for South Australia, but for the whole of Australia – I urge you to be patient,’ Dr Spurrier said.
‘Unfortunately, we are still working through whether it is safe for them to do so (be released) because obviously they are in a hotel where we have some active cases within the staff.’