Public Health Association of Australia president Tarun Weeramanthri has urged the national cabinet to end the ‘political blame game’ over hotel quarantine and address deficiencies with the system. He says airborne transmission of COVID-19 in hotels with inadequate ventilation is the single biggest risk in terms of the virus spreading:
Weeramanthri said this Friday’s national cabinet meeting was likely to be a “watershed” moment for the future of the quarantine system and urged for an end to the political blame game that has so far characterised the quarantine debate.
“If we don’t do it now we’ll be back here in one month, in three months, in six months,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
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“As someone said, the best time to have started this conversation was probably six months ago. The next best time is now. We need to act and we need to do so for the good of the public in Australia, that’s why I’m speaking.”
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has also stepped-up its assault, with Andrew Miller from the WA AMA again calling for quarantine to be shifted from unsuitable city hotels to open air facilities in the regions:
“We’ve infected innocent people,” Dr Miller said.
“It’s grossly negligent to infect people who are in quarantine.
“The hotels have never been fit for purpose and we’ve been saying that from the start.
“Mining camps are very quickly thrown up in Western Australia for all sorts of other purposes and could be done here as well.”
Meanwhile, the Victorian Government is planning to go it alone on quarantine, with the state moving ahead with plans to build a cabin-style facility similar to the one at Howard Springs near Darwin:
For more than six months, MB has called for quarantine to be shifted out of city hotels into low density facilities modelled on the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs:
Over this time, we’ve witnessed multiple leakages of virus out of hotel quarantine into the community, resulting in numerous capital city / state hard lockdowns, border closures, and billions of dollars of lost economic activity.
Having a robust quarantine system is Australia’s number one defence against the virus. The Morrison Government is negligent to continually resist reform and to abrogate its constitutional responsibility to the states.
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