Aussies face holiday nightmare by contracting Covid-19 overseas

A Sydney family has joined the growing list of Australians abroad essentially trapped in paradise after testing positive to Covid-19 before their flight home.

Ivan Kules, his niece, and his mother-in-law are currently stuck in Fiji after the trio caught Covid-19 while on holiday.

Now stuck in the country and unable to board a plane until they’re able to test negative, Mr. Kules said they are in a “prison in paradise”.

“I call it a prison in paradise, I look out the window and I see a beautiful view but I can’t enjoy it,” Mr. Kules told 9 News, noting they caught the virus during their stay at a resort.

“We were told when we arrived there were six cases, the next morning there were 15 cases, by day five it was 50 percent of the resort,” Lynn Glohe, Mr. Kules’ mother-in-law, said.

Ms Glohe said the trio must now wait until they test negative before being able to fly home.

“We’re terrified they’re going to be stuck there for four, five, six weeks,” Ms. Kules said of their situation

“We haven’t been anywhere in years, so we thought well Fiji, it’s safe they’ve got this ‘Bula Bubble’.”

The trio join a growing number of Australians who snapped up holidays in Fiji after the ‘Bula Bubble’ opened in December last year.

Sydney woman Sonia Mehta*, 25, was eager to begin 2022 on her first solo trip overseas. But like Mr. Kules and Ms. Glohe – she was hit by Covid mid-holiday.

“Like a lot of people, I had been feeling quite a lot of cabin fever and wanted to do something big for myself,” she told

“That justified my decision to go travelling overseas.”

Empty hammock in the shade of palm trees on tropical Fiji Islands
Empty hammock in the shade of palm trees on tropical Fiji Islands

After enjoying all that Fiji has to offer – including a day trip out to the famous ‘Cloud Nine’ island – Ms. Mehta began experiencing symptoms on day four of her trip.

Unusually tired during the day, this was followed by a persistent headache, sneezing, worsening cough, and eventually fever. By the next day, a rapid antigen test confirmed she had Covid-19.

As a result, Ms. Mehta was moved into an isolation room for two nights at the hotel she was staying at, which was a downgrade from her two-bedroom apartment. She was then moved to a self-contained apartment with a kitchen, microwave, and fridge, which she says gave her more autonomy.

“It didn’t have any windows that opened and I didn’t have a kitchen so I had to call every two hours and request for food, snacks, and water,” she says.

“I felt quite at the mercy of the hotel owner and while they were quite helpful, I’m not sure they had dealt with an isolation case before because they were quite stressed.”

Fiji Island Beach Hut Sunset Coral Coast Viti Levu
Fiji has been a popular destination for Aussie travellers since the Bula Bubble opened in December

For Ms. Glohe and Mr. Kules, the ongoing isolation on the resort island is being further obstructed by PCR test costs.

“They just charged me $450 per PCR today,” Ms Glohe said.

“So that’s $1350 for three tests.”

Australia’s entry requirements mean that travellers must test negative via a PCR test 72 hours before their scheduled flight. Travellers cannot board until a negative test is received meaning isolation must occur overseas.

Currently, rapid antigen tests are currently not accepted for returning travelers.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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