With last week’s COVID-19 cluster scare bringing renewed attention on South Australia’s medi-hotels, there have been new calls to change where those arriving in SA quarantine.
Top infection-control expert have called for the change, with one telling The Sydney Morning Herald that the move “just makes logical sense.”
Last week, in scenes reminiscent of Melbourne’s second wave, the virus escaped South Australian hotel quarantine fueling fears that Adelaide was bound to deal with a new surge of community transmissions.
On Friday, it was revealed that one of the people at the centre of the Parafield cluster had lied to contact tracers about his movements, allowing health authorities to confirm that there had been no cases of community transmission related to the latest surge in cases.
The new information came to light after the state had begun enforcing a tough lockdown, one that could have been avoided with a shift in the location of quarantine facilities, according to the president of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control.
“Certainly, the further distance you have between people who are infected and the vulnerable community, that would be a good thing,” Associate Professor Philip Russo told the Sydney Morning Herald.
SA Labor leader Peter Malinauskas echoed the calls in an open letter to Premier Steven Marshall.
“I cannot stand by and support the continued acceptance of international arrivals into South Australian medi-hotels. The risk associated with the medi-hotels scheme in its current format is simply unacceptable,” Mr Malinauskas wrote.
The letter goes on to call for an end to SA’s medi-hotel scheme in its current form “until a safer solution is found.”
Premier Steven Marshall responded to the calls to shift quarantine facilities by saying that he was “very disappointed” in Labor’s shift from bipartisan support, before pointing to the difficulty in relocating the facilities.
“From a logistics point of view it makes no sense whatsoever. We don’t have 1200 rooms in Woomera or on Christmas Island to pop up with a quarantine hotel, let alone the staff, let alone building the hospital alongside it,” Mr Marshall told reporters.