Health experts around the country are calling on the federal government to construct quarantine stations in regional Australia as Victoria continues to grapple with another hotel quarantine breach.
Victoria is on day three of a five-day lockdown with 16 cases of the virus now linked to a quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport.
Premier Daniel Andrews has reacted by once again pausing the state’s intake of overseas arrivals calling on the federal government to have a “cold, hard discussion” about cutting international arrivals.
Health experts are now saying that cities were not designed for quarantine and that remote locations or regional centres would do better at containing any quarantine breaches.
Adrian Esterman, University of South Australia’s chair of epidemiology told The Age that shifting the quarantine system out of Australia’s cities is “a no-brainer”.
“Typically, the people working in city quarantine hotels are poorly paid, travel home on public transport, and spread it to their families,” he told The Age.
Experts have pointed to the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs quarantine facility as a solution to hosting overseas arrivals amidst Australia’s biggest capital cities.
The facility sits a half-hour drive to Darwin’s largest public hospital and has so far welcomed almost 3800 people without a leak. There are now talks to almost triple the facility’s intake of repatriated Aussies.