Couple denied chance to meet baby

By | June 8, 2021

A Melbourne couple who gave birth while in quarantine and were immediately separated from their baby have had a request for an exemption to meet their son denied by health authorities.

Sarah and Moe Haidar had returned to Australia from Qatar and were in a Brisbane hotel when on May 26, Ms Haider was rushed to hospital for an emergency C-section due to “complications”.

She gave birth to her son, Ilyas alone at 4am on Tuesday, June 1 as health officials would not allow her husband to leave their hotel to accompany her.

Ilyas was taken immediately to the neonatal intensive care unit, while Mrs Haidar and eventually Mr Haidar were isolated in a specialised Covid-19 room in the hospital.

Since the traumatic birth, neither parents have laid eyes on or touched their baby, instead relying on FaceTime despite both reportedly being fully vaccinated and returning several negative Covid-19 tests.

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On Monday, Mr Haider said the couple had their request for an exemption to meet their son rejected by Queensland Health, detailing both he and his wife’s desperation to finally see their baby.

“She didn’t have a second, a glimpse, she didn’t have a touch, she didn’t physically see him,” he told Nine News of Mrs Haider’s anguish.

“She didn’t even hear him, she said, ‘I heard him once they took him out the room and he was crying in the hallway.’

“That’s her first memory of our son.”

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young confirmed the two were currently in hospital while the baby boy remained in neonatal intensive care, with the group scheduled to finish their quarantine period on Wednesday.

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“I understand that they’re almost at the end of their quarantine period so then they will, of course, be able to see their baby,” Dr Young told ABC radio in Brisbane on Tuesday morning.

“Our first focus was to make sure that the baby survived.

“It’s about keeping the three people safe and the people in hospital safe.”

Speaking on Sunrise last week, Mr Haider implored Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath to “get your head out of the sand” over the state’s commitment to completely eradicating the virus.

“We came from Qatar and we were living in the midst of, three weeks ago, 1000 cases a day,” he said. “Contact tracing was almost automatic and there are automatic temperature checks and security guards that will check you.

“I would just tell the health minister (Yvette D’Ath) to look at what other countries are doing and get your head out of the sand and take genuine steps forward to change this because it looks like we have to live with Covid.”

Victoria Acting Premier James Merlino said health authorities would continue to face tough decisions on quarantine exemptions until the threat of virus was contained.

“The only way for us to get to the other side of the pandemic, to be out of this, is successfully vaccinating our population and having purpose-built facilities to deal with highest risk,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“We will have risk to deal with, not just for the next few months, but for a long period to come.

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“I know these are really difficult and there are individual examples that really tear at your heart.”

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