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Sunday, April 21 2024

Aus can’t wait for quarantine facilities: Oppn leader

For Quarantine Facilities
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Canberra: Leader of Australia’s opposition Labor Party Anthony Albanese on Sunday said the country cannot wait until 2022 to open dedicated quarantine facilities for international arrivals.

Albanese criticised the federal government for waiting to build quarantine facilities, saying construction should have begun in 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.

“That was the best time to do this, the next best time is right now,” he told Sky News Australia.

The government last week announced A$200 million ($15 million) in funding to build a 500-bed facility in Victoria state to help repatriate more Australians stranded overseas amid the pandemic.

However, construction on the site will not start until September and it will not be operational until 2022.

The New South Wales state government on Sunday confirmed it is also seeking funding for a dedicated facility.

“This needs to fixed now, not wait until after the next federal election which will occur perhaps as late as May of next year,” Albanese said.

“We can’t afford to keep having these lockdowns.”

Arrivals to Australia have been forced into quarantine for 14 days in hotels, but the system has repeatedly been breached.

According to Albanese, there have been many Covid-19 outbreaks in Australia linked to hotel quarantine breaches, including the current outbreak in Victoria that has thrust the greater Melbourne area into its fourth lockdown.

“We know that the facilities at the moment, in hotel quarantine, the outbreak in Victoria has come from Adelaide and we know that 21 separate outbreaks have occurred,” Albanese said.

He said that the problems have been exacerbated by Australia’s troubled vaccine rollout.

As of Sunday, more than 5 million doses have been administered in Australia.

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