Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that he contacted state and territory premiers and chief ministers to convene a special National Cabinet meeting to discuss strengthening CCP virus safety protocols around international travel.
“The proposal is to further strengthen the COVID safety of end to end international travel processes (from arrival at Airport of embarkation in the exit country, to final clearance from hotel quarantine in Australia). This is being done particularly in the context of the UK strain,” Morrison wrote on Facebook on Jan. 6.
He said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has met every day during the most recent outbreak and discussed their proposal on Jan. 6.
“They will discuss the proposal further tomorrow before making a formal submission to National Cabinet,” Morrison said. “The meeting will also provide an opportunity to further update National Cabinet on the Federal Government’s vaccination programme, where considerable progress is being made over the break.”
This comes as Australian political leaders and health experts have urged the federal government to require people to test negative before they may board repatriation flights.
On Tuesday, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said three people quarantined in Perth tested positive for the UK variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
“I think it would be a great safety mechanism to ensure that people coming out of many countries around the world have a test and confirm they are negative before they board a flight with hundreds of other Australians,” he said, the ABC reported. “And I think that safety measure should be implemented. To me, this is a no-brainer.”
Omar Khorshid, president of the Australian Medical Association, agrees. He worries that the UK variant may escape Australia’s hotel quarantine.
“We’ve already seen our quarantine systems fail significantly with the virus escaping from quarantine in Victoria, NSW and South Australia; we’ve also seen breaches of quarantine in other places like WA although with no transmission occurring,” Khorshid told News Corps The Australian.
“But with this highly transmissible variant of COVID, either the UK or South African one, there’s going to be more potential for that spread to occur from an infected traveller to a quarantine worker,” he said.
The UK variant is believed to be up to 70 percent more infectious than the original, causing havoc in England and prompting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order a new national lockdown until mid-February.