A specially designed quarantine facility on the outskirts of Perth may not be operational until July, five months after WA plans to open its borders to the world.
- WA uses hotels as the backbone of its COVID quarantine system
- These facilities have been criticized after several breaches of quarantine
- Bullsbrook facility will be built specifically for the quarantine of people
International arrivals to WA are to complete a 14-day hotel quarantine, but as part of the WA government’s plan to open the borders on February 5, all double-vaccinated arrivals will not have to be put into storage at all. quarantine.
Unvaccinated Australians returning home will still need to be quarantined for 14 days, either at a designated hotel or at Bullsbrook’s new quarantine facility, once it is operational.
This week, attention turned to the hotel quarantine system again, with the Washington state government confirming its first case of community spread of the Omicron variant.
In this case, a vaccinated hotel quarantine guard at the Pan Pacific hotel allegedly caught him from customers.
The government is also investigating whether a second vaccinated security guard contracted the highly infectious strain after working at the Hyatt hotel.
Last year, problems with the hotel quarantine system led the federal government to announce plans to build specially designed quarantine facilities in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Last August, the Finance Department said it aimed to have a 500-bed quarantine facility on land owned by Defense in Bullsbrook operational by the end of March.
But last year Washington State Premier Mark McGowan reported construction delays for the project that could extend that deadline.
The tender documents indicate the opening in mid-year
According to tender documents from the Washington state government, which will operate and manage the facility during the coronavirus pandemic, the facility may not open until July 1.
He asked for expressions of interest in operating the quarantine facility by January 28.
The tender documents indicated that negotiations between the government and the shortlisted respondents would likely take place between March and April.
The documents note that they work on “tight deadlines” and need an operator who can “quickly” commission services, including:
- testing residents and staff for COVID-19
- transportation of residents between Perth Airport and the facility
- general health and mental health support
- provide three “healthy and nutritious” meals per day and possibly “limited amounts of alcohol”
- security services, including security staff and residents
- training staff
The site is close to RAAF Pearce Air Force Base and West Bullsbrook Homes, where many residents have been forced to use bottled water because their bores have been contaminated with toxic chemicals for the fight. against fires.
These homes and the site of the quarantine facility are not yet connected to the drinking water system, but they are expected to be soon.
“During the first months when the installation is operational, it is possible that there is no connection to running water,” said the tender documents.
“Consequently, the service provider must organize the delivery of the water in the tank to the installation. Appropriate water purification tanks and equipment will be provided.
The quarantine of hotels should remain
But documents show that there are unlikely to be any international arrivals using these services anytime soon, with hotel quarantine the only option for some time to come.
It has long been recognized that hotels are not the ideal place to quarantine people who may have a highly infectious airborne virus like COVID-19.
Three hotels were excluded from WA’s hotel quarantine program after being identified as high risk due to inadequate ventilation.
WA director of health Andy Robertson said last year that “public hotels are not designed for quarantine.”
“We have had to put in place measures to work with hotels that are not suited to our needs,” he said.
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