COVID-19: NSW Premier wants to end hotel quarantine & open all borders at 80% Vaccination
In an article published by the Australian Financial Review, the New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has explained that she wants to do away with Hotel Quarantine for overseas arrivals who have already received 2 doses of a “credible” vaccine overseas.
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What’s more, she thinks that once Australia has a rate for adults (over 16) of 80% double vaccination, then ‘all internal borders in Australia should not exist’ – a calculated slap at the governments of Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, who appear to be holding out on their commitments at National Cabinet.
South Australian experiment with quarantine at home
SA has remained silent on this whole border thing, probably because they are hosting a test of quarantine-at-home for residents returning from NSW and Victoria. Under the scheme, those in home quarantine are required to respond with their location within 15 minutes of contact by the supervising authorities.
The trial, involving a mobile phone app for monitoring, ended last weekend, so lets hope we will see results soon.
NSW hotel quarantine to be abandoned?
At this stage, rumour is the trial has been effective and could be rolled out nationally. Gladys in NSW is eager, saying that the current hotel quarantine system ‘is no longer efficient given the state has given up trying to stop COVID-19 circulating.’ Abandoning the hotel system should free up considerable police and health worker resources that could be redeployed in other areas of the battle against COVID-19.
This is a bold move for Gladys-Beryl.
Although I am nervous about the move from a ‘suppression’ response to the virus, to a ‘vaccination management’ approach to COVID-19, I can see the sense in the change.
Alarmingly, infection rates, and consequently deaths are predicted to go up in the short term, but the plan is that this will be traded for the vaccinated returning to a more normal pre-COVID-19 lifestyle. Masks and social distancing will still be required, but being able to meet with friends and family and have some of the social intercourse we have so missed during the 10+ weeks of lockdown is intoxicating.
The other upside is that international travel – and I hope interstate travel will be able to recommence.
I can understand the view of states like WA and Queensland, with essentially no cases. To have to capitulate to the bigger states on the suppression strategy will not be politically popular, and could be seen as not in the best interests of their residents. Time or the Delta strain might be the deciders here. These states’ position will alter dramatically if the virus starts to overwhelm their health systems.
An outcome that is looking more and more inevitable.