Queensland has declared its CCP virus hotel quarantine program a success as it sets out to convince hotels in Cairns and other regions to participate in the program, ahead of the state increasing its intake of returning overseas travellers to 500 per week.
“It’s because of our very strong hotel quarantine program that we’ve been able to keep Queenslanders safe,” Steven Miles, the state’s health minister, told reporters on Monday.
He thanked the participating hotels for working with the police and government.
“It’s been incredibly effective and important as we seek to increase the number of overseas travellers able to come back to Queensland,” he said.
Queensland Health is seeking expressions of interest from hotels to join the quarantine program and urged Cairns hotels to join.
“We know that Cairns has both an international airport as well as is suffering significantly from the closed international borders. So if that’s a way for us to inject economic activity; create jobs in Cairns then we’d certainly like to do that,” he said.
Danny Betros, a Cairns Chamber of Commerce board member, supports Cairns hotels joining the quarantine program.
“It creates a whole heap of employment, from food to fuel to transport, catering and security,” Betros said, as reported by The Cairns Post.
He also said Cairns hotels offered ideal quarantine conditions over Brisbane.
“Our hotels have windows and balconies. That is a massive difference, and we need the business,” Betros explained.
“The reality is Cairns has a quarantine hotel already, and has been taking FIFO workers under the control of the Defence Force and police,” he continued.
The move to recruit Cairns hotels comes after national cabinet discussions last week when states and territories agreed with the federal government to increase their hotel quarantine limits to bring home more of the estimated 25,000 Australians stuck abroad.
Recently, Tourism Tropical North Queensland reported that North Queensland had been losing $7 million per day in what is usually its peak domestic visitor season.
Queensland saw only one new case of COVID-19 confirmed over the weekend.
Steve Gollschewski, the Queensland police Deputy Commissioner, told reporters this was a testament to the work of the community and agencies to contain the virus across the state.
There are currently over 3900 people in hotel quarantine in Queensland, and the deputy commissioner also thanked hotels for working with authorities.
“It is incredibly challenging for us. Our planning is very detailed, and we are continuing to work with those hotels to make sure that we have sufficient quarantine here in Queensland,” Gollschewski said.
Queensland currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. Most of the cases are clustered around Brisbane’s south and Ipswich with 11 cases in West Moreton and 3 cases in Metro South.