AUSTRALIA warns that the UK’s more relaxed quarantine hotel plans are ‘very risky’
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins has insisted that the UK’s quarantine hotel rules, set to come into force on Monday, February 15, will be based on the data pertinent to the country, and has staunchly defended the government’s decision to allow those isolating to go outside for fresh air. However, leading experts in Australia, who have their own version of this unique quarantine in place, have warned that these relaxed measures are “very risky.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Professor Michael Toole, from the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, Victoria, insisted that the plan to allow people out of their rooms was fraught with risk. He told the show that the coronavirus infection had been spread in one of Victoria’s quarantine when one person simply opened their door: “with the positive pressure this kind of fog of virus went out into the corridor, travelled down and infected hotel staff”.
Reacting to suggestions that those quarantining would be allowed out of their rooms to have a cigarette or get a bit of fresh air, the Professor said: “We’ve learnt that that is a very risky procedure.”
Although the government has since denied that people will be allowed outside to smoke, Ms Atkins has defended the government’s approach.
She told Today: “The hotel will of course be adhering to all of the very strict measures that we have in place in relation to social distancing and face masks and so on.
“So I think allowing someone a gulp of fresh air, apart from anything else, we know that being outside is less likely to transmit than being inside.
“But I think allowing someone a gulp of fresh air during a 10-day visit in a hotel, with all the very strict measures that we have, I think is reasonable – but of course we will keep these measures under review.”
Ms Atkins added: “We are confident that the measures that we have in place, ready to go on Monday, are strong and that they will help to protect our country against any of these new variants that are being found.”
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