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Man dies in caravan park after waiting months to cross Queensland border

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Matt Roberts/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

The 78-year-old man reportedly applied for a border exemption in early November and had then cancelled his request

An elderly man who suffered a “medical episode” and died in November had been living in a caravan park near the Queensland border for several months, waiting for permission to enter.

Queensland Health told the Courier-Mail the man, 78, had applied for a border exemption in early November, but he had subsequently cancelled his request.

The Courier-Mail reported the man, his wife and daughter – who had been living in a caravan in the New South Wales town of Tenterfield – had been trying to cross the Queensland border to live with the man’s son.

Related: Queensland urged to immediately release Covid orders to end confusion on borders and restrictions

NSW police and ambulance paramedics were called to the caravan park in Tenterfield on 22 November.

Police said members of the public attempted to revive him, but he died at the scene.

One of the caravan park’s growing number of semi-permanent residents, mostly waiting to enter Queensland, told Guardian Australia he believed the man and his family had been waiting in Tenterfield for several months.

It is unclear why the man applied for an exemption in early November, and why he subsequently withdrew that request about a week later.

About the same time, Queensland announced its border reopening plan “to unite families” as the state reached double-dose vaccination targets.

Queensland Health then wrote to some people who had been waiting for responses, advising them about the reopening plans and stating their cases would now be “closed” if they did not respond within seven days.

The state has refused to confirm how many people received such emails. Queensland Health has been contacted for additional comment.

The department told the Courier-Mail that it offered condolences to the family.

“We are unable to comment in depth on individual cases,” a spokesman said.

“However, Queensland Health did receive an exemption application earlier this month.

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“Our exemptions team communicated with the applicant multiple times to progress his application.

“The exemption application was closed at the request of the applicant.

“We know border restrictions are inconvenient and can cause disruption to people’s lives and livelihoods.

“We are doing everything possible to process exemption requests as quickly as we can.”

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