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Former WHO Scientist Warns Australian Government To Shut Our Borders Immediately

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Former WHO Scientist Warns Australian Government To Shut Our Borders Immediately

A former scientist for the World Health Organization has urged the Australian government to close our international borders to all arrivals.

Only Australian citizens and those with permanent residency, their partners and dependants are allowed to come in at the moment, however Adrian Esterman thinks the rules should be tightened.

Everyone coming into the country still has to complete two weeks of hotel quarantine and return negative test results.

But the biostatistics expert at the University of South Australia is concerned the mutations of the coronavirus will wreak havoc on our most vulnerable citizens if they leak into the community.

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Credit: Channel 9
Credit: Channel 9

Until the most vulnerable get vaccinated, Professor Esterman reckons we should close our borders.

"Our only source now of infection are others coming in from overseas, so if we stop overseas travel there will be no infections," he told 3AW Radio.

"Hotels were never designed to be quarantine stations, they're not designed for it architecturally, their ventilation systems aren't designed for it, and they're in the middle of cities, which is silly.

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"We're now a year down the track and we should be thinking of other ways of handling this.

"This isn't the only epidemic that's ever going to hit Australia, we've got more coming in the future so we should actually have a system built ready for it."

The call comes after Melbourne was plunged into a five-day Stage 4 lockdown following an outbreak of the coronavirus started at the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn.

Credit: Holiday Inn
Credit: Holiday Inn
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As many as 17 people have tested positive, however some of those cases involved the highly contagious UK-mutation of the coronavirus.

The outbreak and subsequent lockdown has reignited calls for hotel quarantine to be moved away from capital cities or major metropolitan areas.

Professor Esterman wrote for The Conversation last week that we shouldn't have our returned citizens and their families staying so close to the wider population.

"Why is hotel quarantine situated in big cities, often in the CBD itself?" he wrote.

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"Most states are using hotels in the centre of their major cities...this means if the virus does escape, via an infected worker or otherwise, the potential for significant spread is higher because of the densely populated urban setting.

"It's well and truly time to move quarantine to remote locations, to reduce the risk of transmission into dense urban areas."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: covid-19-positive, Australia

Stewart Perrie
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