Time to take quarantine out of hotels

ABC 7.30 Report ran an interesting segment questioning whether hotels are the safest and best places to hold people in quarantine?

The key extracts from the transcript are below:

PROF. TONY BLAKELY, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Hotels have been very convenient in this outbreak, in this pandemic, because they were there.

However, it is not perfect, it is not textbook quarantine, because you have got close confines with people in narrow corridors passing each other, ventilation systems that may not extract from the room directly outside but actually share some air between spaces, so it is not perfect.

GRACE TOBIN: On Friday, Queensland’s Premier will push the National Cabinet to consider using alternative facilities like Howard Springs in the Northern Territory or four-star mining camps like this one in Gladstone.

The Federal Government is already facing calls to step in and set up a national quarantine facility as 7.30 featured last night.

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW HEALTH MINISTER: It’s good that the states took their share of getting the job done, but ultimately, it’s the Prime Minister and the Federal Government who are constitutionally responsible for quarantine.

GRACE TOBIN: The Federal Government says states and territories are responsible for managing quarantine, but it supports them establishing alternative facilities.

TONY BLAKELY: We will need a quarantine facility at least until the second half of this year and the better it is, the more normal life people living in Australia can have because the virus doesn’t leak out as much.

All of Australia’s recent COVID-19 outbreaks – Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane – have stemmed from failures in hotel quarantine that have led to the virus leaking into the community.

The costs have been enormous, resulting in widespread hard lockdowns, border closures, disruptions, and many billions of dollars in lost economic activity and economic stimulus.

Effective quarantining of overseas arrivals is Australia’s first and best defence against the virus. It is Australia’s number one risk area and where the greatest emphasis and resources from our governments must be placed.

No other COVID-19 mitigation measure comes close to having an robust quarantine system.

It simply makes no sense housing quarantine in densely-packed inner-city hotels where the risk of contamination and spread into the community is high.

Instead, Australia’s quarantine system should:

  • House international arrivals away from population centres (e.g. in low density remote army bases and mining camps);
  • Utilise only highly trained and well paid staff;
  • Ensure these staff work in dedicated teams (to avoid cross-contamination) and remain on site throughout their deployment (similar to mining FIFO workers); and
  • Conduct regular testing of quarantine staff and guests.

The Howard Springs Facility in the Northern Territory is the model that Australia’s governments should seek to emulate:

Sure, implementing such a system may cost more than current quarantine arrangements. However, these extra direct costs are a small price to pay to avoid further virus outbreaks.

The federal government must also take the lead and stop passing responsibility to the states.

The federal government is best placed to coordinate and fund Australia’s quarantine effort. It also has constitutional responsibility for quarantine and managing Australia’s international border.

Australia’s governments simply must get quarantine arrangements right if we are to avoid further costly virus outbreaks, shutdowns, and disruption. This necessarily involves moving quarantine out of city hotels into low density accommodation in remote areas.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

    • Hernando de Soto

      And favoured donors – the reason hotel quarantine was so badly handled in Melbourne was that the prime security contractor, Unified Security, donated $76,000 to Dan at the last election. They had no experience, other than being “Australia’s Largest Indigenous-Owned Private Security Provider”

      800 Victorians are dead because of this.

  1. Christopher Kennett

    Israel has already vaccinated 27% of its population. We need to get on that before southern-hemisphere Winter when the virus will spread again. Right now we are being saved by Summer and high Vitamin D levels in the population, low air pollution, decent humidity and high temperatures.

    Otherwise we will c0ck up the vaccine rollout just as hotel quarantine was c0cked up.

    • +1 if Astra zenca is the best we have available then let’s get on with. For the life of me I can’t imagine what the FDA has found out by waiting this long.

      • Totally agree. If they haven’t already uncovered the unforeseen side effects of an unprecedented vaccine within 50 days then they’ll never know !*

        *sarcasm.

      • Reus's largeMEMBER

        If you are young and healthy you would be better of getting the WhuFlu as the #scottyfrommarketing vaccine is far less effective for future immunity than actually having the WhuFlu.

      • NoodlesRomanovMEMBER

        ABC needs to stop listening to ‘Epidemiologists’. MB comment section always has the best insight and solutions!!

        • Well they need to stop listening to the ones with faulty models and poor track records, and perhaps look at a wider view on epidemiology – rather then those that sing from the same song book.

    • No rush, the South African variant has been shown to be above the 8 fold threshold they use to mandate a yearly change in the flu vaccine……and there will be worse in other places we don’t know about yet. So yearly vaccine changes or more and secure quarantine needed for a minimally open economy.

      https://twitter.com/trvrb/status/1351785352793493505

      Build a fever hospital on Hamilton Island as fast as the Chinese do and clear out the residents …….has a good enough airstrip even if we have to shuttle 737’s from some RAAF base.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        I keep going back to Woomera or Christmas Island as the sort of place they should be looking at.

        I have got off the blower with mates in the UK and Ireland a couple of hours ago, and the thinking there is that whatever is coming out of Brazil is likely to be worse than what they already have in the British Isles, and I understand there are mounting concerns about whether the vaccines already in play are going to hold up as the virus mutates.

        Either way I would be thinking Australia needs its shinola together before maybe April/May

        • While I agree it would make sense to use them, nobody is going to expose Silent Australians to anything remotely similar to the realities of refugee detention, so any of those existing centres are a non-starter.

          • I’d have to agree. Look at the untold money spent to prevent exposing quiet australians to the reality of unemployment benefits.

          • Haywood JablomeMEMBER

            He’s still dirty that things can’t just go back to normal. Everything he does suggests his eagerness for just that.

  2. buttzilla team forever

    maybe they can stay in one of those unoccupied $384 pw dongas @ a fruitfarm. soo cheap!

  3. UpperWestsideMEMBER

    As someone who is looking to come home sometime I 100% agree with the above.
    The idea that this virus will be over anytime soon is laughable .
    This is with us forever and we need to have a forever solution.
    I chose to stay in NYC because the risks associated with quarantine in seedy Sydney hotel are simply not worth it.
    Much higher chance of getting covid in a hotel than say walking down the street in NYC wearing a mask.
    But more importantly a much higher chance of strangling my kids or topping myself… two weeks locked in with teenagers … I’ll take risk of death over that anyday.

    • “This is with us forever and we need to have a forever solution.”
      The only forever solution is live with it. Or stricter and stricter restrictions as the rest of the world eases.
      It’s like trying to cure and prevent the flu. A losing battle.

  4. There shouldn’t have been a single plane from overseas land in Australia since March.

    This is just dumb. A tiny handful of people ripping to bits the lives of 25m of us.

    The mental health fall out will hang around for decades, many won’t recover. How many covid deaths, and long term health problems?

    MB has been big on bringing Australians home. More of the western disease of using your hearts ahead of your brains. It would have been far better to help them overseas until there’s a clear path to bring them home.

    The greater good for Australia should always be key policy. Pretty hard to go so wrong when that’s the primary consideration in everything we do.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      TotesbeWoke is proudly brought to you by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party of Australia because he, and people just like him, proudly brings us to you.

      He is the living embodiment of the ‘I’m all right Jack’ mindset on which Torynuffism in Australia thrives, and he exhorts support for the Torynuffs in all we do.

      He is the living embodiment of the ‘If you have a problem it is your fault and therefor you should be punished for it, and certainly not helped’ mindset, and when he pronounces the words ‘The Greater good of Australia’ you can be sure that it will be the greater good for him first and foremost, and the ‘primary consideration’ of people with mindsets just like him is at the forefront of every public pronouncement we make on the road to giving Australia the Torynuff ideological thrashing it needs – It’s all for your own good, you know …..

      Thanks Totes

      • I said the greater good. It’s got nothing to do with me.

        As usual, you’re attacking the man, and not the idea.

        You’re piece of work mate, Pretty typical of the delusional left that have wrecked the Labor party, and are therefore wrecking the country.

        You would have been the bloke demanding we go over in the overcrowded lifeboats and pluck everyone from the water from the Titanic, only to sink the lot of us. Dumb.

        Time to wake up. Your view of the world is destroying us.

        • GunnamattaMEMBER

          ….and you Sir, are the bloke who would have been going down with the ship after telling fellow passengers it was…. ‘Unsinkable, don’t you know!’

          • Don’t call me Sir. Your responses are cringe worthy.

            Where do you get this vision of who or what I am? I’ve told you before. I’m your typical working class, life long union member, ex Labor voter, We nearly all think like I do.

            It is you and the clowns that still vote Labor that are the outliers, wrecking our country.

            Send me to me whoever you want to verify….Ermo?

            You don’t understand Australians, working class, what unions are for, and the damage “the individual” is doing to our future. That’s because you aren’t working class are you?, and have some ridiculous ideology from the past you can’t let go of.

            You’re an elite academic. The terrible leftist virus that’s killing us.

            It’s no accident the global elites are pushing for “the individual”. It’s a scam to take your country, and you’ve fallen for it hook line.

            Waiting for deletion like last time….. 3, 2, 1.

          • Totes, the problem is you believe the fairy stories told to keep you compliant and obedient. The unions and labor were never any more interested in helping the working class than the libs were. In the past both had policies that were much more labour friendly because the world was a different place and they actually required australians to work hard and get stuff done. As they have discovered this is no longer the case the policies have shifted with the results you observe.

            “The mental health fall out will hang around for decades, many won’t recover. How many covid deaths, and long term health problems?
            MB has been big on bringing Australians home. More of the western disease of using your hearts ahead of your brains. It would have been far better to help them overseas until there’s a clear path to bring them home.”
            There will never be a clear path to bring them home if your intention is keeping it out of the country. It is here forever. What are the mental health effects of neverending lockdowns and restrictions and requiring all people in public to wear masks at all times forever more?
            This is where we are heading, recently masks became mandatory on all public transport, with minimal complaint, next time it will be all public spaces. They are going to ratchet the restrictions higher and higher in a vain attempt to keep it out.

          • “What are the mental health effects of neverending lockdowns and restrictions and requiring all people in public to wear masks at all times forever more?”

            Not if we keep the virus out. 25m Australians benefit.

            Australians had ample warning to get home. We shouldn’t have to all pay for them not having done so for whatever the reason.

            That is putting the country ahead of the individual. Exactly what we should be doing. Not forgetting, we’re not throwing them to the Lyons, they just have to stay where they are for a while.

          • “the problem is you believe the fairy stories”

            No I don’t. I just recognise that now immigration is high, Labor are no good for us. It’s different to thinking they ever were.

          • “the greater good for him first and foremost”

            While we’re talking about extreme selfishness. Don’t you have family in Russia trying to get home?

            So, you want to put the livelihoods, mental health and physical health of 25m, and all else,……. to suit…….YOU.

            You, Gunna, are one big hypocrite like most from the left.

    • It is people that say “shut the border”, “no more flights”, “they had plenty of time to get home” who are the selfish ones (as well as simplistic and ignorant). All Australians have the right to come home if they choose.

      • ““shut the border”, “no more fights”, “they had plenty of time to get home””

        That is literally what I’m saying (and have been saying for months, when MB were talking about how this couldn’t be contained…and were fighting to keep bringing Australians home….more disconnected logic).

        It’s not selfish at all. It’s for the greater good, and it’s frankly frightening you don’t understand the relevance of the concept.

        My fking God, Australia’s future’s in trouble. If you are the norm, we’re going to lose everything. I’ll be in the grave, I hope you, and those you love suffer a lot.

        “All Australians have the right to come home if they choose.”

        We are all suffering. All of us. There’s no reason to make it worse for 25m people to help a handful. Like I said they’re not being thrown to the lions.

        25m of us are losing a 10, the handful are gaining a 3. Makes no sense no matter how you frame it.

        • Your argument would hold weight if plane tickets into Aus were not scarce, not expensive and quarantine wasn’t a problem. Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated then your simplistic view. So create the proper facilities and bring them home.

          We are 12 months into this pandemic, if anyone had the slightest vision in govt, these facilities would be coming online now. (If we had to build them)

          I hate the modern day Labour party, so my view is not linked to my party preference. I was overseas when the last election was on and made an effort not to put in a postal vote.

          • “So create the proper facilities and bring them home”

            No problem with an iron clad plan. There hasn’t been one though.

            For Australia to suddenly be talking about airborne virus within hotels is just astonishing.

            We’ve known from day 1 it’s airborne, we also knew it likely spread on cruise ships via air-conditioning, hallways, etc, not unlike hotels. WTF.

            What do you do with flight staff, medical, and transport staff?

            It is so contagious, with a large incubation period. It’s not easy.

          • GunnamattaMEMBER

            …and that suction sound we hear is Totes head being returned, and wedged into, to its natural positioning between his cheeks…

            Completely oblivious to the whole purpose of an appropriately running quarantine system

          • Yes its the Federal govt plan to come up with some sort of plan. No plan is not a solution.

            Here’s a plan off the top of my head, while I was in the shower.

            1: Repatriation flights once/twice a week from major capital cities: London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Los Angles, New York, Johannesburg, Mexico City, Buenos Aires.
            2: Reach out to Qantas and Virgin and cover the total costs of these flights plus some, (inc doubling flight crew wages due to risk) before they mothballed their planes to the Mojave desert.
            3: Fill the plane to 50% capacity, everyone wears a mask on board
            4: Deposit $1-$2K into the Aussies accounts so they can reach the above major cities and wait it out until their flight home.
            5: Land the plane and transfer to said quarantine system
            6: Rinse and repeat until everyone is back on home soil.

          • Don’t want to be weird Luke, but I was in the shower too.

            It would take a hell of a system to be full proof.

            Even if you had arrivals stay in stand alone accommodation, a nurse could catch it from patient A, on day 10, and transfer it to patient B on day 13, who then tests negative and is released day 14.

            My question is, why has the list grown despite 17k coming home, why didn’t people come home to meet the deadline?

            Why should the 25m of us continue to suffer for a handful of people?

          • “Completely oblivious to the whole purpose of an appropriately running quarantine system”

            To benefit who? Gunna of course, but it’s totes that’s the selfish one apparently. You’re drowning in your own BS Gunna.

          • It would take a hell of a system to be full proof.

            We didn’t go from no flight to landing a person on the moon in a single iteration.

            If something breaks reassess, rectify, re-try. The quarantine facility were they land will be our last line of defence. It can’t escape from there. If we had a system based on the Howard Spring setup, risk is low. There is never going to be 0 risk.

          • So totes, you want the border completely closed?
            What about freight? Are we stopping all exports and imports or are we allowing 3rd world crews on aircraft and ships in and out but not australian citizens?
            It is beyond Hard. It is impossible long term without a drastic change in way of life. Sooner or later a container of contaminated something will be imported and it will be loose in the community again.

          • I think I’m bordering on being a prk now, but why should 25m of us be exposed to…”There is never going to be 0 risk”….after the sacrifice and cost we’ve already endured?

          • Is there hard evidence this has happened? I think in NZ it seemed it happened, but they found it was something else.

            This is all becoming more than I intended. There’s a big known risk in bringing back Australians, and IMO, we shouldn’t be doing it. There was ample warning to get home (and after which the list grows? Come on…what’s going on there?).

            25m of us deserve to be put ahead of a handful.

          • “There was ample warning to get home (and after which the list grows? Come on…what’s going on there?).”
            Hindsight is 20/20. Many people thought it would be over by now. I notice you completely ignored the fact that large numbers of people will still be in and out of the country with freight even if all Passenger movement is ceased. What is your position there? Close the border properly, or let potential leaks in with the crew of freight.

          • “be in and out of the country with freight”

            I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but I’d guess most workers on freight by ship don’t have to leave the boat.

            Like I said, passengers coming back are the known threat.

            Why haven’t you answered my questions? Why should 25m be forced to suffer more for a tiny handful of people?

            Hindsight? They got it wrong. Why should we pay for that mistake?

            You leftards are all the same. You just can’t justify the position you take. You use “feelings” to form your views instead of common sense and logic, and it always ends in disaster for the rest of us.

            Pretty much why Greens and Labor are starved of power.

          • “You leftards are all the same. You just can’t justify the position you take. You use “feelings” to form your views instead of common sense and logic, and it always ends in disaster for the rest of us.”
            lolx100.
            You’ve never justified a position in your life, based on your rants here.

            “I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but I’d guess most workers on freight by ship don’t have to leave the boat.
            Like I said, passengers coming back are the known threat.”
            Aircrew and the people transporting them to accomodation have been a source of leaks.
            Guess what, quite a lot of freight travels by air.

          • “Guess what, quite a lot of freight travels by air”

            I thought you said some things will have to change.

            I can and do justify everything I say. You know why? Because it’s based on logic, and not emotions.

            Serious question. Are you a chick?

            “based on your rants here”

            lol. I’ve heard that before. I’m not ranting, but I know it’s a good put down others throw around when they have no argument like you don’t.

          • When you keep calling people left-tards to make your point. It doesn’t make your argument any stronger, it actually weakens your position because people tune out. Last we heard is that Gunna’s family is still stuck in Europe with no end in sight and he’s not alone. It’s pretty easy from your position to say no more in, do you have a wife or kids?

            Again no plan and a blanket ban is not a solution.

          • GunnamattaMEMBER

            Totes isnt interested in solutions, Totes is interested in purity.

            Totes is only mentioning my family (still in Moscow, relatively OK, I was chatting with them this morning) to get up my nose because thats the sort of thing Totes is into, and thats the sort of person Totes is.

            Totes lives in a world of unanimity, a world of one almost……

            https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2021/01/time-to-take-quarantine-out-of-hotels/#comment-4063383

            We nearly all think like I do.

            ….But he loves giving the Tories a tout, loves giving the unemployed a cosh, and he’s all right Jack.

            and in his world of one Left-ards are just about anyone who doesnt agree with him…

            But thats OK with me, I accept all different kinds.

          • Luke

            I don’t like the modern pro immigration, “individuals” above all else leftards. They’re irrational morons, and I’m not apologising for it.

            BTW, I’m left, the old left that cares for the environment, our country, workers, fairness, anti establishment, anti business, anti elite. https://ibb.co/bvpwpQt

            The new left, leftards, will totally destroy us all.

          • GunnamattaMEMBER

            Luke, that’d be

            https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2021/01/time-to-take-quarantine-out-of-hotels/#comment-4063383

            We nearly all think like I do.

            I’m left, the old left that cares for the environment, our country, workers, fairness, anti establishment, anti business, anti elite.

            Except Coshing the unemployed, Except bullshit jobs, except worker casualisation, except rorts for the aged and the wealthy at the expense of the young and the working……..Except almost everything the Liberal Government currently fronted by ScoMo stands for

            Hey Totes, there would be Tory strategists out there looking at blog posts like yours and wondering if there is a demographic out there for whom ‘aggressively oppose’ means fellate. The Tories would like your opposition mate

      • Shades of MessinaMEMBER

        The sentiment is pretty symptomatic of Australian society nowadays unfortunately. Brutish, selfish, self-centric and lacking an ability to see outside a blinkered world view.

        Even third world countries like India have managed to bring their citizens home.

        We have sunk a long way over the past two decades…..

        • “Even third world countries like India have managed to bring their citizens home”

          lol. The virus is rampant in India. What reason would there be to not bring them home?

          “The sentiment is pretty symptomatic of Australian society nowadays unfortunately. Brutish, selfish, self-centric and lacking an ability to see outside a blinkered world view”

          Another lol.

          “selfish, self-centric”

          Greater good is THE OPPOSITE TO THAT.

          It is only selfishness as a country that affords you and the people you love a future. THINK ABOUT THAT.

          “blinkered world view”

          The world is going to sht. We can only save Australia. For a short time.

          Fk me. I can’t cope with how stupid young Australians are. You’ve been brain washed.

          • “But he loves giving the Tories a tout, loves giving the unemployed a cosh, and he’s all right Jack”

            Yeah that’s right. I’m an anti immigration, anti establishment, anti business, pro worker, pro union, pro environmental LNP member.

            Well thought out Gunna. You should be a detective.

          • GunnamattaMEMBER

            Yeah that’s right. I’m an anti immigration, anti establishment, anti business, pro worker, pro union, pro environmental LNP member..

            Except Coshing the unemployed, Except bullshit jobs, except worker casualisation, except rorts for the aged and the wealthy at the expense of the young and the working……..Except almost everything the Liberal Government currently fronted by ScoMo stands for

            Hey Totes, there would be Tory strategists out there looking at blog posts like yours and wondering if there is a demographic out there for whom ‘aggressively oppose’ means fellate. The Tories would like your opposition mate

            Well thought out Totes. You should get your head out from between your cheeks – You will find its quite light out here. The 5 watts illumination from lighting your own farts must make thinking about the outside world somewhat challenging

  5. David WilsonMEMBER

    We need to prop up the hotels now that we have virtually nil overseas tourism plus trying to look after perhaps 50,000 people in government quarantine facilities is a ridiculous proposal. Just think of how many staff would need to be hired, trained and moved to other locations to make this work plus we just dont have facilities required.

  6. Inner city hotels are not fit for the purpose of quarantine.

    Inner city hotels made a good location for emergency quarantine, because they were already built and available for use. However the time to use inner city hotels for quarantine has now passed and they should no longer be used for that purpose.

    If Australia wishes to quarantine in-coming people, then Australia should build quarantine facilities that are fit for that purpose.