Sydney cops catch Covid carrier who ‘refused to isolate’ for two weeks

Anthony Karam, 27, is accused of running from police while infected with Covid (Picture: NSW Police; 7 News)

A man branded ‘public health enemy number one’ for allegedly leading police on a two-week chase around Sydney while infected with Covid has been arrested.

Anthony Karam, 27, was required to obey two weeks of quarantine under New South Wales’ strict lockdown rules after being told he had tested positive on August 14.

Police told local media they checked his registered address a few days later but found he had provided fake details, prompting a warrant for his arrest that would spark a city-wide manhunt.

CCTV footage was released of a man said to be Karam coughing in a lift and leaving a building several times.

Officers called on residents to report him to Crime Spotters if they saw him, saying he was ‘not only a danger to the community but to himself’.

In a moment fit for a TV crime caper, they later claimed to have contacted him through a third party and negotiated a deal whereby he would hand himself in.

But he allegedly went back on his word and refused to turn up, prompting detectives to ramp up their efforts to bring him in, according to Australia’s Daily Telegraph.

The 27-year-old was finally arrested on Thursday night at an apartment block in Wentworth Point which reportedly neighbours the complex he lives in.

Anthony Karam was branded a 'Covid fugitive'

The 27-year-old was branded a ‘Covid fugitive’ by police and the media (Picture: 7 News)
Karam allegedly reneged on a deal made with police to bring him in (Picture: NSW Police)

He has been charged with 13 offences including being in public and not preventing the spread of a Category 2 – 5 condition, a law used in Australia to uphold Covid restrictions.

The charges also included not complying with COVID-19 directions, two counts of failing to comply with a self-isolation direction and nine counts of not wearing a fitted face covering in an indoor area of common property.

Karam was refused bail and was due to appear in court via videolink on Friday.

Australia has seen some of the world’s strictest lockdown regimes enforced under its ‘Covid zero’ strategy, which is only now being phased out.

Police have not held back from making arrests to uphold Sydney’s ultra-strict lockdown (Picture: NSW Police)
Karam was reportedly charged with 13 offences and was expected to appear before court on Friday (Picture: NSW Police)

Since the start of the pandemic, authorities have sought to keep the virus out of the country with tight border controls and ultra-low case thresholds for the reintroduction of restrictions.

This has afforded the country long stretches of relatively normal life and a low death rate but has been criticised of late as slow vaccine uptake made it apparent that the threat of fresh lockdowns may linger for far longer than other countries.

Tens of thousands of Australians overseas are also unable to return home due to tight limits on how many citizens can return each month.

Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced a dramatic shift in the strategy on Monday, saying: ‘This is not a sustainable way to live in this country.

In a televised address, he said the country must ‘learn to live with Covid’, signalling that cases will be allowed to rise as long as hospitals can cope and that most restrictions will be dropped once 80 per cent of the population is vaccinated.

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