New COVID strains may delay international travel until 2022

Family pleads for exemption for son to see dying mum

A close knit Queensland family is desperate for health authorities to grant an exemption for a dying woman's youngest son to temporarily leave hotel quarantine to say goodbye to her, "even if for just a few hours".

After months of trying to get back to Australia from the United States, Marko Marttila, 48, arrived in Brisbane yesterday.

But with two exemption requests to self-isolate at the Redcliffe home where his mother is dying rejected by Queensland Health, Mr Marttila was taken to a quarantine hotel on the Gold Coast.

Queensland mum Anneli Marttila is terminally ill with bowel cancer. Picture: supplied
Queensland mum Anneli Marttila is terminally ill with bowel cancer. Picture: supplied

Sari Marttila last night said her mother-in-law Anneli - who has terminal bowel cancer - was deteriorating quickly and it was very unlikely she would last another thirteen days.

"When she found out that Marko was coming (to Australia) she just lit up … we were hopefully that she would make it to the end of the month, but the drastic decline that she's had within the last two weeks, it's just obvious, I'm not god but there's no way we can see that she'll still be around in two weeks time," she said.

"We just would like somebody to look at it and say 'what can we do?' instead of saying 'nup, can't help you' … whether they could just let him out covered in PPE for just a few hours just to see her, just anything that would give her the chance to say goodbye.

"I'm still hoping somebody there might be able to think of a plan and suggest something."

Mrs Marttila said there were many other families going through the same pain and will be more families into the future unless new protocols are established.

Anneli and Marko Marttila with Marjo's children Kaydi and Charlie. Picture: supplied
Anneli and Marko Marttila with Marjo's children Kaydi and Charlie. Picture: supplied

"They need to work out some sort of system so when this situation arises so they have a process where they send out somebody to make sure it's legitimate and then make something happen," she said.

A Queensland Health spokesman said they sympathise that this is a very difficult time to navigate, however Queensland's quarantine policy has helped keep COVID-19 out of the community.

"Because of the growing risk internationally and the emergence of highly contagious variants, we are granting very few exemptions for people returning from overseas to quarantine at home," the spokesman said.

"More than 75 per cent of the state's cases have been infected overseas and many did not test positive until they were already in quarantine.

Originally published as Family pleads for exemption for son to see dying mum



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