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Outback truckie who recovered from Covid denied entry into WA

Owner operator Brad Danzic had returned to work after recovering from Covid and receiving the all-clear, but when he tried to cross the WA border, authorities had other ideas.

Danzic, 33, is a road train operator who travels all over the country, doing regional and remote work, from behind the wheel of his Kenworth. He’s held his MC licence since he was 18 and been working for himself for the past 11 years.

He began getting Covid symptoms on January 16 while travelling remote and wasn’t able to get hold of a RAT test until two days later. It was then that he tested positive.

As per requirements, he spent seven days in isolation before returning to work.

The Adelaide-based truckie set off from Melbourne, with three generators on the back, destined for the Pilbara. It was supposed to be a seven-day trip – but he had to add nearly 10 days to that after being stuck in Katherine in the NT.

According to WA’s hard-border requirements, proof of a negative rapid antigen or PCR test is required within 24 hours before entering the state.

And that’s where Danzic’s travel plans came undone.

After recovering from Covid, it’s still possible to test positive to the virus for weeks, or even months afterwards, even though a person is no longer contagious.

This was the case for Danzic, who is also double-vaxxed. “I couldn’t test myself in Katherine because I couldn’t get hold of a RAT test, so I was tested at the border and my RAT test came up positive,” he said.

That test was last week, on Tuesday February 1. He had another test on Friday which also came up positive.

“I spoke to several doctors and people that work for NT Health and they all said that I can keep testing positive for up to 90 days,” explained Danzic.

“I spoke to NatRoad who was dealing with the minister’s office in Perth, to David Smith at the ATA, and to Senator Glenn Sterle who was trying to work on it as well. They were all speaking to WA’s minister’s office and were unable to come to a conclusion of what to do in my situation.

“I also couldn’t get in to see a doctor in Katherine because everywhere was flat out but got a letter of discharge from my own doctor on Tuesday February 1. It was about three weeks after contracting the virus that I was still testing positive.

“It’s not like I’m in a metro town either so I’ve had to quarantine in my truck. They make these rules, but they don’t play out in these sorts of areas.”

Thankfully, when Danzic took another RAT test on Tuesday February 8, it had finally come back negative and he was able to enter WA. But that also begs the question, what would’ve happened if he continued to test positive?

Though we’re only into the second month of the year, Danzic has already lost three and a half weeks of work – between being a close contact of a positive Covid case, then contracting the virus himself, and then being stuck on the other side of the WA border.

“I’ve heard lots of stories of getting a negative RAT test one time, then testing positive another time. I crossed the border last night and need to have another RAT test in WA today.”

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