Increased security measures are being implemented at Western Australia’s COVID-19 quarantine hotels amid a flood of complaints from people unhappy with their treatment in the system.
They were recommended in a review prompted by the escape of a woman who failed to complete 14 days in supervised isolation.
Jenny Maree D'ubios had arrived from Madrid on Dec. 19 and absconded on Saturday morning.
WA police found her at Rockingham Hospital, southwest of Perth.
She was charged with failing to comply with a direction under the Emergency Management Act, was refused bail, and will appear in court again in January.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson has confirmed there’s been more than 2000 formal complaints among the 30,000 people accommodated since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
But he says the measures are necessary to keep all West Australians safe.
“We know that people are unhappy with certain things,” Dawson said.
“No, we can’t allow them to walk around the parks. They can’t all have balconies. They can’t all live like they are normally accustomed to.
“But I repeat again, we are in a state of emergency. This is not the preference of anyone that we would want to quarantine people for 14 days.
“We do this on public health advice. It’s worked for Western Australia to date.”
Acting Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook said D'ubios’s actions were “concerning” given the directions and advice she had received.
“We have a situation here where someone ignored all that advice and continued to push their luck,” he told reporters.
“That person’s luck has run out.”
Cook said the increased security arrangements included new protocols for dealing with people who had breached quarantine requirements or were considered at risk of doing so.
Contracted security guards at quarantine hotels will get increased powers to prevent people breaching directions and physical barriers to stop people leaving the hotels will also be improved, including secure entry and exit points along with existing lockdown lifts and floors.