SA’s COVID border under fire as Victorian family bans Mellita Froiland funeral

A grieving Victorian family desperately searches for answers as they struggle to attend the funeral of a loved one in South Australia.

The family have been granted permission to visit their dying loved one in hospice care, but they have now been told that they would not be able to honor him.

Mellita Froiland, 38, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late August.

When it became apparent that she was running out of time, her family in Victoria decided to take a pity race to see her.

Under South Australia’s strict COVID-19 border restrictions, only people with an exemption are allowed to enter the state from Victoria.

Their humanitarian exemption was granted at 7 a.m. on Thursday.

Mellita Froiland, 38, died just hours after her family was granted permission to enter South Australia. Credit: 7NEWS

Four hours later, Mellita passed away.

His brother-in-law Simon and his mother, sister and wife are now in quarantine at the Pullman Hotel in Adelaide CBD.

“We were here to see her before she passed away… unfortunately she passed away before we arrived,” said Simon.

Mellita’s funeral is scheduled for Friday.

Mellita's brother Simon is now stranded in quarantine at the hotel, unable to attend her funeral.
Mellita’s brother Simon is now stranded in quarantine at the hotel, unable to attend her funeral. Credit: 7NEWS

The family believed their exemption would allow them to participate under strict guidelines, but the police told them otherwise.

“They said, ‘Oh no, you probably won’t be able to go to the funeral because you have an exemption to visit someone in hospice care,’” Simon said.

The family are desperately awaiting responses from SA Health on whether they can be allowed to attend the service, but say they have had no response.

“We are happy to be cordoned off… we are happy to attend a police officer if necessary,” said Simon.

“We are ready to do whatever it takes to be there.”

The family is isolated at the Pullman Hotel, one of the city's dedicated quarantine facilities.
The family is isolated at the Pullman Hotel, one of the city’s dedicated quarantine facilities. Credit: 7NEWS

Opposition health spokesman Chris Picton says funeral ban is a kick in the teeth after Victorian families were granted border exemptions at an SA Health bungle last week.

“I think South Australians will look at what has happened in the past, with families turned down but footy families being given the green light,” he said.

“And they will wonder if the system has any significant problems.”

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“The human thing would be to allow us to attend a funeral. “

However, SA Health says it will not budge on strict COVID rules.

A spokesperson told 7NEWS that no exemptions would be given to the 14-day quarantine requirement.

But Simon says it’s a cruel blow to a grieving family.

“The human thing would be to allow us to attend a funeral,” he said.


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