Is FedEX Shipping In COVID-19 Time Bombs?
As police probe the actions of a Sydney driver, who has been credited with starting the latest Sydney outbreak, it’s been revealed that he was carrying a Fed Ex flight crew in his limousine, with questions now being asked as to whether air freight Companies are flying in COVID-19 to Australia and whether the same strict checks for returning passengers apply to air freight crews.
The limousine driver who picked up the Fed Ex crew, a man in his 60s, has been investigated by police since he tested positive on June 16.
The driver was not vaccinated and did not wear a mask when he picked up the US Fed Ex crew, where he is believed to have caught the highly contagious delta strain.
The FedEx Flight which the driver picked up at Sydney airport, had flown in a freighter FX 77 which left Oakland in San Francisco the day prior arriving via Honolulu.
As Sydney locks down with 20+ cases research shows that San Francisco is averaging 14 cases of COVID-19, a day in June, 25 cases a day in May and 35 cases a day in April.
During the past three months this City has recorded over 600 COVID-19 cases yet despite this air freight crews are still being allowed into Australia from a key FEDEx freight hub.
Last year serious questions were raised about CPOVID-19 precautions being taken by FEDEX in the USA where the crew that the Australian driver came from.
Pamela Pope a Fed Ex employee spent her days doing a mix of work at FedEx’s Newark Liberty International Airport facility, from office work to deliveries and helping unload cargo from the dozens of planes flying in and out every day.
It was a job she loved, and one the 56-year-old had done for more than half her life.
But as coronavirus cases began to spread among her co-workers, fears of contracting the virus dominated her thoughts, family members said.
“Today I am scheduled off from work and am grateful,” she wrote a cousin in a text message. “My FedEx location has nothing for me. They said they ordered stuff for us, but it was backordered? In this stage we can’t find masks, the bacterial gloves, sanitizer, nothing, cuz, and we are required to be at work.”
“She became really afraid to even go to work,” said her sister Debbie Hyman, who said Pope brought her own masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies to work.
Pope died of coronavirus on April 25, her sister said.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told Ben Fordham this morning they are urgently seeking legal advice as it appears that no health precautions were taken before and after the crew left the drivers vehicle.
“When you take this limousine driver, you have to say that there’s a fair bit of public outrage about it and that the Premier is certainly disappointed,” NSW Police Commissioner said on local radio today.
“I’ve received mixed messages in terms of whether or not he has breached the health order. So, we have sent it out for urgent legal advice.” her added.
The driver is currently being investigated for work health and safety breaches, amid fears private vehicles hired to transport international air freight aircrew have become “viral bombs”.
This year consumer electronics and appliance Companies have been forced to fly in goods that they would normally sea freight because of delays and rising sea freight costs.
Now questions are being asked as to what COVID-19 precautions health departments Border Force and the Australian military are taking with freight crews and their passengers who often come into separate areas of an airport than mainstream international passengers.
FedEx have 650 planes flying to 400 destinations carrying 6 million packages every single day and the majority of these flights operate to or from one of their own hub airports.
FedEx’s hub airports are spread out all across the world and serve as sorting points where packages are sorting to one plane or another.
We asked Fed Ex and DHL to comment, A Fed Ex spokesperson said” “The health and safety of our FedEx team members, customers and communities we operate in, is a top priority”.
“FedEx has in place robust safety measures and our crew members and team members comply with all coronavirus related regulations. We confirm that, consistent with the current NSW Health requirements, all our crew members are tested for COVID-19 upon arrival into Sydney”
“We take all necessary precautions and adhere to all guidance from government authorities”
“Any information relating to an individual’s employment with FedEx or our contractor workforce is considered private”
The US Company did not say whether any of their crews have tested positive for COVID-19 or who was doing the testing on arrival in Sydney:.
According to one source the procedures at freight terminals in Australia are at best “Slack”.
Sydney Airport has seven cargo terminals controlled by five cargo terminal operators. Over 80 per cent of freight is carried in the holds of passenger aircraft with the remainder transported in dedicated freight aircraft flown by Companies such as Fed Ex, DHL, KLM, Eva Air, and others.
Sydney Airport is the most significant freight hub, accounting for approximately 45 per cent of all freight imports and exports in Australia.
In Australia Qantas has strict rules regarding the shipment and the movement of freight and the people involved in delivering freight to their terminals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More to follow.