The four-man removalist crew were already in Orange when NSW Health called to inform Roni that he had tested positive to the highly contagious Indian Delta strain. Seen here is a map of their route
THURSDAY – Four removalists leave West Hoxton in Sydney’s south-west, and travel to Figtree, near Wollongong.
Their boss at On Time Removals, Aram Yousif, asks them to get a Covid test pefore proceeding to the state’s far west, on the next leg of their journey.
Mr Yousif was told: ‘Aram we are very healthy, we have no symptoms, why should we do the test?’
The removalists get tested but allegedly proceed on to Orange, in the NSW Central West, rather than isolating as required by law.
FRIDAY – About 2.30pm, police in Molong speak to the removalists after receiving a tip they had travelled from Sydney’s south-west.
Police determine the men had travelled from West Hoxton to Figtree, near Woolongong, and then on to Molong.
They officers learn the men allegedly had pit stops at South Bowenfels and Orange along the way.
Officers allege that while in Orange, one of the crew received a call from NSW Health saying they had tested positive to Covid-19.
However, three of the men then continued to Molong, police claimed.
Those men – twins Roni and Ramsen Shawka, both 27, and Maryo Shanki, 21 – were charged with breaching the health orders and escorted back to Sydney.
SATURDAY – The crew is criticised by Police Minister David Elliott, who described their alleged actions as an ‘unfathomable’ and ‘blatant’ breach of the law.
‘This thoughtless act has now placed our regional communities in New South Wales at the greatest risk so far with this pandemic,’ Mr Elliott said in a press release announcing the charges.
Mr Elliott warns the men could face six months’ imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine each, if found guilty of violatnig the pubilc health order.
Both Roni Shakwa and his boss, Mr Yousef, tell media outlets the crew had poor English skills and what happened was a misunderstanding.
Roni told The Daily Telegraph he felt ‘very bad’ about travelling so far with the virus but said ‘it’s not my fault’.
Mr Shawka recounted that he was driving in Orange when he got a call from a NSW Health saying to stop working and go home.
‘I gave them the number of my boss, I told them my language is not very good,’ Mr Shawka was quoted saying.
‘I (did) not kill someone … I was (doing) my work, I swear to God I didn’t know (I was positive).’
MONDAY – The twins’ mother, Saeeda Shawka, is found dead at home in Green Valley.
Her children are forced to quarantine in the car on the street outside the family home for up to six hours.
In a statement, NSW Health confirms that Mrs Shawka was Covid-positive at the time.
‘NSW Health today sadly reports the death of a woman in her 50s who was a confirmed Covid-19 case,’ a representative said.
‘She was a resident of south western Sydney and a close contact of a Covid case.’