The Sunrise team have been left heartbroken for a devastated daughter grieving alone in hotel quarantine after she was denied an exemption to say goodbye to her dying dad.
Gillian Hannah raced back to Australia from the United States 10 days ago after being told her father’s lungs were shutting down.
Watch her heartbreaking interview on Sunrise above
She is fully vaccinated and has tested negative to COVID-19 twice since she landed in the country.
But she was denied a compassionate exemption to leave isolation and fly from Sydney to Victoria to see her father on his deathbed.
On Thursday morning, time ran out and her dad passed away.
“I didn’t get to say goodbye to him, but now I’m stuck in here, I have no one, there’s no support,” she told Barr and Doran.
Gillian said she was “feeling pretty numb” and that the situation had “taken a huge toll on me”.
She cannot leave quarantine until Monday.
“I called the nurses that are on duty here when I found out that my family were going to say goodbye and I said ‘can you just call and check on me’.”
“They called once then just sort of forgot about me and I haven’t heard from anyone since then.”
Gillian was told that, in order to see her father, she would need to charter a plane so she didn’t come into contact with the wider community.
“The lady advised me that unless I would be chartering a private flight, there would be absolutely no way I could leave quarantine.
“I don’t have $10,000 sitting around,” she said.
Her story is remarkably similar to that of Anna Coffey, who was granted an exemption to travel to Melbourne to see her dying dad.
Anna was reunited with him on Thursday.
“I just didn’t understand why they gave her an exemption and they didn’t give it to me,” Gillian said.
“Something needs to be done. This is just cruel, it’s incredibly cruel.”
Gillian said she was speaking out about her situation so “someone else doesn’t have to go through this.”
“It’s just horrendous. I can’t even put into words how hard this is.”
Her story left Matt Doran and Natalie Barr furious, with the Channel 7 presenters urging state and territory leaders to adopt a consistent national approach to compassionate exemptions.
“As a country I think that prides itself on compassion and a sense of mateship, this goes against everything we stand for,” Doran said.
“Gillian I’m just so sorry, our hearts are breaking for you,” Barr added.
NSW Health says it tries to show compassion in all cases but is overwhelmed by requests, given so many people from other states are completing their hotel quarantine stints in Sydney.