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Australian state considers remote mining camps for coronavirus quarantine

8 Comments

An Australian state premier said on Thursday she was considering the use of remote mining camps to quarantine international arrivals, aiming to break a cycle of coronavirus outbreaks around the country at city hotels used for isolation.

Queensland's state capital of Brisbane emerged earlier this week from a snap three-day lockdown sparked by the discovery of the highly infectious strain of COVID-19 in a worker at a quarantine hotel.

"I think with this new strain, we have to put all options on the table," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said of the camp proposal, which received a mixed reaction in Australia.

Since Australia effectively eliminated local transmission of COVID-19 in the second half of last year, almost all new outbreaks have stemmed from quarantine hotels.

Palaszczuk said health officials are considering "a number" of camps near airports as a way to isolate COVID-19 cases and prevent the potential spread of the virus through common infrastructure such as airconditioning.

Neighboring Northern Territory began using a shuttered mining camp outside the city of Darwin in October for quarantining international arrivals.

A proposal for wider use of camps is on the agenda of a national cabinet meeting next week but New South Wales, the country's most populous state, has already voiced its objections. The vast majority of incoming travellers to Australia arrive in Sydney where they are quarantined at city hotels.

"There's strong views held in our public health team it makes sense to continue to have the hotel quarantine arrangements we currently have," said NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, citing difficulties in providing support staff in regional locations and concerns about transporting infected travellers.

In Brisbane, authorities transferred 129 quarantined travellers from the Grand Chancellor hotel to another hotel late on Wednesday while investigations into the latest outbreak are conducted.

Both Queensland and NSW reported zero locally transmitted infections overnight, but six in returning travellers, while the Northern Territory recorded two cases in hotel quarantine.

Australia, which has recorded a total of around 28,650 infections and 909 deaths, has managed to suffocate several small outbreaks in recent weeks through targeted lock downs, contact tracing and mandatory mask-wearing.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

8 Comments
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Does Christmas Island still have free beds?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Have we got to the point where quarantined individuals have to wear bells, or is shuttering them in the mines considered the better option?

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

@goodlucktoyou I believe Christmas Island is currently being used to house people awaiting deportation by the federal government.

@Bungle Mining camp accommodation is considered good enough for mine workers so perhaps good enough for quarantine purposes.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

So some people think that 14 days temporary confinement anywhere outside the comforts of a city hotel can be compared meaningfully to a) detainment in a subtropical island off the coast of north-western Australia used to detain refugees, b) being a leper or forced to work in the mines, c) being Jewish during World War Two, or d) as some kind of preparation for a takeover by Communist China.

As John McEnroe said, you can't be serious. My family lived in worse conditions than these people would do when we first came to Australia, and we did it for more than a year.

The most rational argument against the idea of quarantining in remote camps is this one.

"There's strong views held in our public health team it makes sense to continue to have the hotel quarantine arrangements we currently have," said NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, citing difficulties in providing support staff in regional locations and concerns about transporting infected travellers.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

According to some sources they started repainting the old camps to house the Americans of Japanese decent. A bit run down, but usable. They have schools, canteens and hospitals as well.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

From Australia's ABC News:

"the ABC understands one possibility is workforce accommodation in Calliope, about 20 minutes' drive west of Gladstone... The four-star Homeground Villages was last year being considered by the NRL as a base camp for players and staff, as a way to keep the competition going during the COVID-19 crisis.

The village has 1,392 air-conditioned rooms with balconies and facilities include a swimming pool, tennis court and gym."

As I pointed out, there may be other logistical problems not connected with the accommodation itself, but - No tents. No pickaxes. No toiling in the hot sun. Four-star accommodation, fit for skilled workers and pampered sportspeople. I'll bet the food's OK too. For 14 days only.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-14/qld-coronavirus-international-arrivals-quarantine-mining-camps/13057898

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Location for severely ill people isn’t suitable, how do you help them. Anyways the message is clear Don’t come home we don’t want mutants here. For our family it would cost $25,000 for flights and quarantine. I’m ashamed of my country and we’ll take our chances here.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Bobo

Why would you say that? Do you not think we’ve handled our response well? What would you suggest we do to protect the rest of the population?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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