Limo driver blamed for sending Sydney into lockdown opens up
A limousine driver who became public enemy number one when he was blamed for locking up Sydney during the pandemic has been candid about how he was “treated like a criminal”.
Limo driver Michael Podgoetsky, 63, was hunted for months after triggering the Delta outbreak that led to a five-month lockdown that paralyzed NSW.
He caught the Delta strain after picking up Fed Ex flight crews from Sydney Airport in June without being vaccinated or wearing a mask, and driving them to their hotel.
The driver then spent several days off in the community, going to cafes and shops and spreading the virus throughout the eastern suburbs of the city.
He also took it to the movies, then Belle Cafe in Vaucluse and Westfield Bondi Junction.
Podgoetsky finally realized he was infected when he went back to work and a routine test came back positive.
Now he has opened up about his experience and revealed how he believes he has been cheated.
Limo driver Michael Podgoetsky, (pictured) who spread the Delta across Sydney, was hounded for months after causing the five-month lockdown that paralyzed NSW
The eastern suburbs were immediately locked after his positive test and within days the rest of the city followed suit, leading to months of misery
The lockdown caused chaos in NSW for months as the region battled the outbreak
“My wife was distraught,” he told the… Sydney Morning Herald† ‘We couldn’t handle the stress.
“Looking back, I think I was cheated and treated like a criminal.”
The eastern suburbs were immediately locked after his positive test and within days the rest of the city followed suit, leading to months of misery.
Despite a public outcry, police later admitted that he had not broken any law and was not required to wear a mask or get vaccinated at the time, despite the risks involved.
Podgoetsky faced further criticism months later when he was caught without a mask and fined $500. He was also accused of being an anti-vaxxer – something he denied.
He says he was vilified in the aftermath with someone who rammed into his car and a neighbor who told him he had “destroyed NSW” and that he would tell everyone his name.
“I don’t want to be known for Covid-19,” he urged 7News when he was identified. “It’s in my head like I’ve done something wrong.
“The bioweapon has been introduced into our state and I am blamed for that. I feel horrible. I feel terrible for what is happening in the state right now.
“I don’t know where I picked it up, but I followed the rules.”
Despite a public outcry, police later admitted that he had not broken any law and was not required to wear a mask or be vaccinated at the time, despite the risks involved.
Outside of Podgoetsky, several other people were hunted for spreading Covid in Australia.
Wealthy finance boss Tom Pizzey, 59, made global headlines when his weekend trip to BBQ shops and a butcher’s shop in May unknowingly sparked a massive Covid scare.
Seven months later, the part-time guitarist made fun of his fame with his 80s cover band The Distractions who released the song BBQ Man.
The director of an international private equity finance company rose to Covid fame when he left a trail of potential Delta hotspots in Sydney.
Despite not being abroad or in contact with a known case, Mr Pizzey later tested positive – but not before spending a big weekend around town.
The Sydney millionaire who forced Byron Bay to shut down at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Zoran Radovanovic is pictured eight years ago with his son Kristian
Starting with coffee in the CBD on Friday morning, he had his eyes checked around town for lunch at an Italian restaurant in Paddington, then an early movie in Bondi Junction, followed by dinner at another upscale Italian in Kings Cross.
Serbian millionaire Zoran Radovanovic, 52, came into the spotlight when he and his son Sydney snuck away during a mysterious trip to Byron Bay during lockdown.
He is now believed to have skipped the country with his son to fly back to Serbia and will be arrested as soon as he returns to Australia.
The pair visited a series of locations on the north coast of NSW without checking in until both ended up in a hospital in Lismore with Covid, leading to a week-long lockdown in the Byron Bay area.
Zoran’s dark past later came back to haunt him when it was revealed he’d had previous drug and theft convictions, pretended to leave Australia while overstaying his visa, and had to beg Australia for citizenship.
Son Kristian was also caught twice in 2020 for driving under the influence of alcohol and was called a ‘regular traffic offender’ in court.