As concerns grow about the threat the new “mutant” COVID-19 strain poses to Australia, one state leader has proposed an extreme plan to keep it away from the nation altogether.
As Queensland continues to grapple with the fallout after a Brisbane quarantine hotel worker contracted the highly contagious UK strain last week, Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan has renewed his push for remote commonwealth facilities to be used for quarantining returned travellers.
“We need to constantly review and constantly update,” Mr McGowan, who has been criticised for his hard stance on measures throughout the pandemic, told reporters on Thursday.
He cited other measures that have recently been undertaken, including halving the number of international arrivals and mandatory mask-wearing at airports.
“I’m more than happy to have another conversation with the Federal Government about the use of remote commonwealth facilities because those facilities are there and they are available and there are experienced staff that can deal with these matters,” Mr McGowan said, suggesting Christmas Island as one such option.
“Clearly with the British strain that’s something we should reconsider.”
His suggestion comes as it was revealed a woman who tested positive for the strain was able to leave quarantine at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor to go to hospital with her father.
The Courier-Mail reports an ambulance was called to the hotel on Monday night for the man, aged in his 40s, following a medical complaint. He was accompanied by his daughter, a woman aged in her 20s who was not knowingly at fault.
She is believed to have come into contact with a number of people outside the quarantine bubble and reportedly did not return to the hotel via Queensland Ambulance Service transport.
Read on for all the latest updates.