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Some two-thirds of Australia's 3,000 COVID-19 cases are linked to overseas travel Photo: AFP/File

Australian military to help enforce mandatory quarantine

By Saeed KHAN

The Australian military will help enforce the quarantine of travellers returning to the country, with the prime minister unveiling strict new measures and door-to-door checks Friday to rein in the spread of COVID-19.

With some two-thirds of Australia's 3,000 COVID-19 cases still linked to overseas travel, Scott Morrison said 14-day home quarantines would now be actively policed with the help of the military.

Thousands of citizens and residents are still arriving in Australia every day and there have been instances of return travelers repeatedly breaking a promise to stay at home.

Morrison said all returnees arriving after midnight Saturday would now be kept in hotels in the city of arrival for the duration of their quarantine.

Those already on Australian soil and under orders to self-quarantine for two weeks will face active checks, he said.

Quarantine measures will be getting "a lot tougher and a lot stricter," Morrison said, adding the Australian Defencse Force would "assist in the compliance with these arrangements."

Police in New South Wales this week said they found a 65-year-old woman breaking quarantine twice after returning from Bali. She was slapped with two $1,000 (U.S.$610) fines.

Australia has struggled in particular to deal with returning cruise ship passengers.

Around 200 of the 2,700 passengers who were allowed to disembark one ship in central Sydney without testing have subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

The presence of three other cruise ships off the coast of Western Australia has sparked an intense debate about whether they should be allowed to dock.

Tens of thousands of Australians are still believed to be overseas and Morrison said it would become harder for them to come home.

He indicated efforts would be made to return some trapped in locations like Peru, but those who departed after the government advised against all foreign travel may be on their own.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Evidence that the general public anywhere in the world cannot be counted on to act in the best interests of society.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

There were reports in the media of a couple of AB demographic rich-listers returning from a skiing holiday in Aspen, where there was an outbreak, but refusing to self-quarantine for 14 days as required by the restrictions and instead swanning around their usual haunts on the Mornington Peninsula (food, wine, lifestyle) without worrying about who they came into contact with. And they weren't the only ones.

So if it takes the Army to keep people like that in check, I'm all for it.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I appreciate the approach Australia is taking not only in making the rules but also in enforcing them.

*enforce the quarantine

*unveiling strict new measures

*door-to-door checks

*actively policed with the help of the military

*slapped with two $1,000 (U.S.$610) fines.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There are irresponsible people everywhere.

If the government takes it seriously then the people will too.

Japan's government isn't taking it seriously, so of course the people are irresponsible and selfish - the crowds for cherry blossoms and K-1 are clear examples.

Come on, Japan. You're a first world, developed country. Act like it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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