The NSW Government’s hotel quarantine program is under scrutiny after a third case of COVID-19 was linked to returned overseas travellers.
A nurse is believed to have contracted the virus while transporting a family from Sydney airport to a quarantine hotel, although health authorities have yet to determine the exact source of this infection.
A cleaner who works at two of Sydney’s quarantine hotels and a bus driver who shuttles flight crews to and from the airport have also tested positive in recent weeks.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian contends that some ‘leakage’ is inevitable and must be expected.
From The Australian:
Ms Berejiklian defended the breaches by pointing to the high number of people who had successfully isolated within Sydney’s hotel quarantine program.
“I don’t think any system can ever guarantee that we won’t have transmission events,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I think it’s inevitable these issues will arise.
“We try as best we can to minimise them but it is about the response and actions of individuals coming through”…
Figures obtained by The Australian show NSW has taken 89,574 returning travellers into hotel quarantine since March 28, amounting to more than half of the 175,854 returning travellers that have arrived in Australia.
It has also taken more interstate residents than any other jurisdiction, with the cumulative interstate figure now sitting at 42,084.
I do have some sympathy for the NSW Government given it has taken in the lion’s share of returning Australians into quarantine.
What I do not have sympathy for is the NSW Government’s treasonous plan to reserve one-third of the state’s hotel quarantine places for international students that would be flown into Australia on chartered flights and have their quarantine costs paid for by universities:
The NSW government is taking a plan to national cabinet to bring up to 1000 international students a week into Sydney starting in the new year…
The students, to arrive on charter flights, will use up nearly one-third of the state’s 3000 passenger a week limit on overseas entries…
The plan is strongly backed by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian because of the economic benefit it will bring NSW…
The NSW move was welcomed by International Education Association of Australia chief executive Phil Honeywood…
The arriving students will need to spend two weeks in quarantine, and some universities are willing to pay the $3000 quarantine cost on the students’ behalf…
Given the risks involved in quarantining international arrivals, quarantine places must be reserved for returning Australian citizens and permanent residents only. To do otherwise would not only be unfair to the tens-of-thousands of Australians still stranded abroad, but would also increase the risks of importing the virus.
No quarantine places should be set aside for international students and migrants until every single Australian citizen and permanent resident stranded abroad has been repatriated. Nor should students and migrants have their airfares and quarantine costs subsidised when actual Australians are being forced to wear the full costs.
Australians must come first.