Overhaul the hotel quarantine system to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks

Overhaul the hotel quarantine system to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks

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Melinda Joseph started this petition to Mark mcgowan (Premier of Western Australia) and

The recent COVID-19 outbreak in Perth demands a swift response. It is positive that the McGowan State Government immediately responded with a five day lockdown to prevent the circulation of the virus.


Lockdowns are proven to work. Last year, Victoria was able to achieve elimination of the virus because of this. Meanwhile, places such as the UK and France, have witnessed exponential spread because the profits of companies were put before public health.


However, this breach has exposed significant faults in the hotel quarantine system in WA, which mirror the issues previously discovered in Victoria and NSW. These were investigated thoroughly in the Victorian COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry. Andrew Miller, President of the Australian Medical Association WA, put it well when saying it is not the fault of the individual security guard but “the way the system is being administered.”


The McGowan State Government did not learn these lessons and take the necessary steps to prevent similar outbreaks. This breach is the inevitable result of a privatised quarantine system- one in which fully-operational hotels double as medical quarantine facilities, staffed with casualised, underpaid and under-trained security guards with inadequate PPE. The Perth security guard had to make ends meet with a second job as a rideshare driver. The PPE for many workers in quarantine facilities is not high-grade enough to adequately protect them.


It was a disaster waiting to happen. 


The lockdown hopefully means we can get this under control quickly. But we need to immediately overhaul the private hotel quarantine system that allowed this to happen, otherwise it is likely we will experience future outbreaks of this deadly virus. 


Public health should always come before the profits of private companies. Therefore, we demand:

 

The termination of all private contracts with security and hotel companies. All work related to quarantine should remain in public hands with medically trained staff employed by the Government.
All quarantine workers to be employed on a full time basis with union pay and working conditions.
Proper quarantine stations to replace hotels. These stations would be located outside the Perth CBD and equipped with proper ventilation and required protective equipment including N95 masks.

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