A DOG'S breakfast!
That's how Shoalhaven couple Dave and Raylene Perry have described trying to get information about their 17-year-old son Saxon, who is due to arrive back in Australia from Europe Wednesday night.
Imagine having your teenage son on the other side of the world during a pandemic. Then, the news he's coming home, but you can't get any information on where he will be quarantined.
That's the journey the Perrys have been on.
Saxon, a well-known local hockey player, has spent the last 12 months in Denmark on a Rotary exchange.
The teenager was due to leave Copenhagen on a flight on Tuesday afternoon (Australian time) and land back down under at 7pm Wednesday, January 13.
"Originally, because Saxon was an unaccompanied minor we were told he would be able to quarantine with us at home and that was fine," Mr Perry said.
"But on December 21 the Public Health Orders changed and everyone needed an exemption. We were never notified about that."
It wasn't until December 24 they became aware and applied for the exemption.
That's when the journey to bring their son home really became frustrating.
"We applied for an exemption on the online portal, and heard nothing back until New Year's Eve," Mr Perry said.
"We got an email from the NSW Covid Exemption Unit that said due to a change in policy we would have to apply for an exception, which we already had.
We have no problems with Saxon having to quarantine and if it has to be in a motel so be it. We understand. But we can't get any information as to where that will be.Dave Perry
"It also said they had some more questions about our niece.
"Who the hell was our niece? It was our son."
The couple tried to contact the COVID unit, but calls just went to Services NSW's generic number.
"At one stage we were even given the news we didn't need an exemption at all and said 'wait on - something's not right here' and asked to speak to a supervisor," Mr Perry said.
"We were even told 'he's 17, he's nearly an adult, he can stay by himself for two weeks'.
The couple finally contacted South Coast MP Shelley Hancock, whose office has been of tremendous help.
After she made contact with the NSW Health Minister, NSW Health made contact.
"We spoke to the doctor and she said there would be no exceptions and they'll contact us - it could be 24 hours before he arrives home," Mr Perry said.
"We know other Rotary kids who have been away and their families have been getting three and four days notice. But we have heard nothing and can't even contact the special Health Accommodation Authority.
"We also questioned if the phone call was because Mrs Hancock had made representations on our behalf with the minister and were told there had been representations.
"We have no problems with Saxon having to quarantine and if it has to be in a motel so be it. We understand it especially with this new more virulent UK strain.
"But we can't get any information as to where that will be.
"Ray is going up to meet him and is willing to stay with him for the two weeks in quarantine so he's not by himself but we just can't get any information.
"We know he's coming home - we upgraded his flight to business class months ago just in case and he's at the airport and checked in but where does he go once he's landed?
"We just can't get any information and there is no way of contacting these people other than through Services NSW.
"The people we speak to, although concerned for us and try to be helpful, have no authority to do anything and are really only going by the information they have on the internet which is the same as what we've got.
"I've seen some dog's breakfasts in my time but this one takes the cake - I've never dealt with anything like it."
I've seen some dog's breakfasts in my time but this one takes the cake - I've never dealt with anything like it.Dave Perry
The couple have again been in contact with Mrs Hancock's office in a hope of being able to gain some information.
"If Shelley Hancock hadn't got involved we would have heard nothing," Mr Perry said.
"They have been fantastic but really you shouldn't have to do that to just try and get some information about what's going to happen to your child."
Denmark is now in full lockdown with the country recording around 2000 COVID cases a day.
"Even earlier when they were getting between 1000 and 1500 cases a day their lockdown was not as severe as ours," Mr Perry said.
"He's been living with the family and it's only been the last month they've gone into total lockdown.
"Prior to that life was pretty normal, they were still going to school, although they had to wear masks while moving around the school, and while they were on public transport."
Some of his planned trips to places like Germany were cancelled but they did get into Norway for a week.
"People have said to us why didn't we bring him home when it first started?" Mr Perry said.
"The original DFAT advice was if you were somewhere where you were safe, were comfortable then stay put.
"All Australians were not told to initially come home.
"He was in a safe country with probably a better healthcare system then Australia."
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