Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has put forward a radical plan to send overseas arrivals to regional mining camps.
It comes after six coronavirus cases at the Grand Chancellor hotel forced its shutdown on Wednesday, reigniting fears the virus had spread from the quarantine facility into the community.
“I think with this new strain, we have to put all options on the table and these are sensible, rational options,” she told reporters.
Queensland recorded zero locally acquired cases, and four hotel quarantine cases in the past 24 hours from more than 13,000 tests.
It is still unknown how the virus, the new highly-infectious strain from the UK, managed to spread throughout the now closed hotel.
Ms Palaszczuk will propose the plan to the federal government and wishes to discuss it at National Cabinet next week.
“We are looking at alternative plans to hotel quarantine that is based right in the midst of CBD where you have a whole lot of staff that come in from all around,” she said.
Experts say more innovative quarantine required
Curtin University epidemiologist Archie Clements previously told Yahoo News Australia such schemes in remote places were the way forward for Australia’s quarantining programs.
“If you look at what we did in Western Australia with the cruise ships and utilising Rottnest Island, I think innovative solutions like that [are needed],” he said.
“We’ve got to look at strategies like that if we want to move large numbers of people back.”
Jane Halton, the chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said while it may be safer for a state’s population, a regional facility may face a lack of resources.
“The questions I'll be asking are - is there a workforce available? Are the health services that you might need available? Can you care for those people in a way that's safe?” she told ABC News.
Ms Halton pointed to the success the Northern Territory had had with a similar facility however noted its Darwin facility was extremely close to the Royal Darwin Hospital.
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