COVID quarantine villages could house returning Australians from overseas hotspots

Quarantine "villages" could be built in less than a year to house Australians desperate to return from overseas COVID hotspots and decrease the country's reliance on hotel quarantine, mining camp designers say.

July 6, 2021

Businesses which normally build remote accommodation camps for the resources industry are fine-tuning proposals, estimating the cost of the quarantine hubs to be anywhere between $80 million and $200 million.

It comes as infectious disease experts back a move away from hotel quarantine, warning not only will COVID-19 continue to be a risk to the community in the short term, but there may be more pandemics to come.

Key points:

  • A WA construction group is proposing a quarantine village for Perth's south
  • Estimates for a 1,000-bed facility vary from $80 million to $200 million to build
  • Infectious disease experts say a dedicated facility could benefit health and the economy

In a warehouse in West Perth, the team at Grounded Construction Group is finalising a proposal to put to the Western Australian Government — a 1,000-bed quarantine hub on private land, near Mandurah, 70 kilometres south of Perth's international airport.

"WA has been building mining camps for the last 50 years plus," says the company's project estimator, Courtney Graham. "We've got the capacity here, we've got the skillset."

WA has just emerged from its second sharp lockdown this year, prompting Premier Mark McGowan to order a review of options outside hotel quarantine.

Last month's three-day lockdown is estimated to have cost the WA economy at least $70 million.

It was sparked by the spread of infection of COVID-19 within hotel quarantine and then into the community.

"We will review everything and see if there are any other options out there," Mr McGowan told ABC Perth at the end of the lockdown period.

'More virulent' variants should prompt rethink: Expert

While the Premier has all but ruled out commissioning a purpose-built facility, the Grounded group is preparing its proposal in case there is a change of position.

This article was featured in ABC News

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