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Push for 'medi-hotels' to enforce quarantine


Tasmania's peak medical body is calling for hotels to be used as accommodation for people self-isolating. 

Many are empty, given the tourism industry has ground to a halt.

AMA State President Professor John Burgess has told Tasmania Talks with Aaron Stevens, the so-called 'medi-hotels' couldn't be run privately and would need the oversight of Public Health Services.

"...for patients who are feeling relatively well and don't need a formal hospital bed but are still infectious for 10-14 days to achieve effective isolation and to also contain the environmental infection through control measures," he said.

The Federal Group - which on Monday stood down around 1500 Tasmanian jobs - is already using part of its Wrest Point hotel in Hobart and Country Club in Launceston as quarantine accommodation.

Executive General Manager Daniel Hanna has confirmed others will be made available.

"If that's something that is going to be happening a lot more, we stand ready to help out and I'm sure a lot of other hotel/accommodation providers around the state would also be happy to help out. We've got assets that aren't really being used right now and that can provide a benefit to thoses businesses but also for the wider community," he said. 

UTAS has already offered up its Fountainside property in Hobart as quarantine dwellings.  

Meanwhile a group of 40 northern doctors has written to the Premier, asking him for a complete lockdown of the state, including closing schools and opening medi-hotels.

"Firstly we would like to start with a positive scenario. Fast forward a month. Tasmania hasn't had a COVID case in 14 days. Schools, workplace and society within Tasmania gets back to it's 'new normal'. Being by far the healthiest and most productive economy within Australia. Travel, testing, quarantine & isolation to continue until a vaccine or cure is available.

Every Tasmanian is proud of the actions you have taken and proud to be Tasmanian with their health and families all alive. The current quarantine of returned travellers for 14 days should be applauded as the only proven tactic to slow the spread is government imposed social isolation.

This will only work to its full effect if followed through with additional measures. To further strengthen this the group of Northern Tasmanian doctors strongly endorse the following public courses of action:

Tasmania’s 3 Step Plan:
1. Complete Shutdown of schools, face to face work places, health facilities only for urgent cases, pharmacies only for deliveries, online booked reserved supermarket times, etc. For 2 month’s to give everyone certainty & stop the virus spreading.
2. Enforced Medi Hotel Quarantine for all interstate travellers, recently arrived cruise ship passengers & every positive for 14 days.
3. Widespread testing of anyone symptomatic, or anyone in close contact, retesting the high risk contacts 3-4 days later. Allowing GPs, nurses and other health professionals, utilising private rather than just the Royal Hobart testing machine. Continue aggressively tracing contacts and putting out any hot spots.

Additional measures:
- Impose strict fines for breaking isolation or not getting tested if asked to when symptomatic
- Help support those who cannot work - suspend rates, levies, utility payments.
- Support health care workers by obtaining sufficient protective equipment to look after you"

 Image: Pixabay

Tags: coronavirus