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COVID-19: Uk and USA to adopt Australia’s hotel quarantine 14-day policy?

COVID-19: Uk and USA to adopt Australia’s hotel quarantine 14-day policy?

In less than 24 hours, I have received notifications that both the United Kingdom and the United States of America are contemplating implementing a 14-day hotel quarantine policy similar to the one having been run in Australia since March 2020.

OK, the 14 days in a hotel is talked about for the UK, while the USA is still very unclear, other than a quarantine period is probably going to be policy.

a man standing in front of an airplane

United Kingdom

In the last 4 or so days there have been several press reports predicting the introduction of this policy. Let’s start with the raciest; Mail Online, and then move on to the Telegraph and if you sit on the other side of the fence, The Guardian.

This is all because of a statement by the vaguely handsome Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary, in reaction to a report in the Sunday Times that the government had ordered the drawing up of plans for the creation of quarantine hotels for those arriving in Britain.

Outrageously, this is called a ‘New Zealand directed isolation’ policy. How very dare they!

The UK has been very slow to this party, claiming that such a move would have too much economic impact for the island to contemplate such a move. I suppose having some of the highest rates of infection in the world, and enough cases to choke your health system changes your view on the policy.

The exact nature of the scheme to be introduced is yet to be detailed. Patience is a virtue.

a group of people sitting on a stone walkway next to a pond
Central Park, New York

United States of America

What a difference a day makes, not to mention changing the occupant of the White House.

We already knew that COVID-19 testing would be a prerequisite for arrival into the USA from 26 January. But President Biden has launched some more speculation after making a speech which partially addressed the quarantine issue:

“Everyone flying to the United States from another country will need to get tested before they get on that plane, before they depart, and quarantine when they arrive in America.”President Biden

There is currently no indication, however, that quarantine will be any more than self-directed and voluntary. Don’t expect a government-run and heavily policed compulsory hotel quarantine regime in the land of the free, anytime soon.

OMAAT has a great summary of the proposals and current CDC guidelines if you want to know more.

a chandelier from the ceiling
The Lincoln Centre, New York

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

At a time where Australia is seeing hotel quarantine as a major problem affecting its very low community transmission rates, two major western countries are looking at it as a potential model for arriving travellers, along with testing.

As epidemiologists in Australia are questioning the success of the scheme due to a lack of attention to aerosol spread, the United Kingdom and the USA are looking at the ‘New Zealand’ model as a way of minimising transmission of COVID-19 into their communities from incoming travellers.

The possibility of using remote workers settlements in country Queensland as quarantine centres rather than city hotels has been presented to National Cabinet today. We are expecting rejection.

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