Calls Grow To Close Australia's Border To UK Travellers Due To Mutant Covid-19 Strain
Experts are growing increasingly concerned about the mutant strain of the coronavirus and have suggested whether border restrictions need to be tightened.
The new variant, which was first detected in the UK, is said to be more contagious than the original virus that was found in late 2019.
People from the UK are still able to travel to Australia if they quarantine in a hotel for two weeks.
However, Epidemiologist and public health specialist Tony Blakely from the University of Melbourne reckons we need to look at potentially shutting off our doors to people from Britain.
He told ABC Radio he wasn't advocating for the borders to close, however suggested it could be an option.
"We can close the border, that's quite radical, but it's on the table as a possibility...or we strengthen the border," Dr Blakely said.
"To strengthen the border, we test people before they get on the plane - that would weed out some of them, not all of them - (as well as) masks on the plane, very good processes in the transit. And then when you arrive here, really, really good quarantine.
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"The extra measure I'm advocating now is urgently vaccinating the border. Customs, quarantine, airline, airport transport staff."
Tens of thousands of Brits have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past few days, causing England and Scotland to go into lockdown.
The BBC reports the mutant strain is 'rapidly replacing other versions of the virus' and 'some of those mutations have already been shown in the lab to increase the ability of the virus to infect cells'.
Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng has already spoken to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee about the idea of shutting the borders to UK travellers.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said yesterday: "[Professor Cheng] is seeking for a national agreement to do the modelling, to look at the risk to each state of Australia.
"Obviously that then impacts on international travellers if, ultimately, a risk assessment is done that shows the risk is much higher and we should look at closing the port."
When the mutant strain was discovered, Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, said while it's a concern, Australia won't cause a ban on UK arrivals.
That was said on a day where England alone recorded 34,000 new cases of coronavirus. Yesterday, the country recorded 58,700 new cases in a single day.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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