By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Australia’s government will build a mandatory quarantine camp for people suspected of having COVID-19 to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to plans seen by Worthy News.
Officials confirmed that the facility would be in Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state, which saw coronavirus lockdowns for most of its 7-million residents.
“The Victorian and Australian Governments have committed to building a purpose-built quarantine accommodation hub,” said Victoria’s government in a statement.
The Victorian government said the camp, referred to as a “hub,” would arise at an existing animal quarantine facility owned by the Australian Department of Agriculture. It is located in the city of Melbourne’s suburb Mickleham.
“This project is currently in the planning stage, with construction anticipated to begin in September 2021,” Victoria’s government added.
“We anticipate that the first stage of the hub, which will provide 500 beds, will be operational in early 2022.”
It explained that the camp is necessary, “With quarantine continuing to be a critical part of the Australian response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The “Centre for National Resilience in Melbourne” camp would “combat and protect the community from the highly infectious COVID-19 virus,” the government pledged.
It confirmed that the $15 million camps “will be strictly controlled and enforced by Victoria Police and highly trained staff.”
Additionally, the government said that all staff would be vaccinated before working at the quarantine facility and undertaking daily health screening, COVID-19 tests, and temperature checks.
“Staff will also be encouraged to get tested on their days off. Contact between staff and residents will be minimal. When required, all staff will follow strict procedures and be fitted and trained in full [Personal Protective Equipment] PPE, including N-95 [mouth] masks.”
The personnel will be “solely deployed to the mandatory quarantine program – they will not work anywhere else.” Like the detained residents, they “will be provided with everything they need on-site including all meals, and will not leave the facility during their shift,” it added.
The facility comes despite mounting protests against coronavirus restrictions in Australia. In recent weeks, thousands marched in Sydney to demand an end to lockdown measures with smaller protests in Melbourne and Brisbane. Scores of demonstrators were reportedly charged and hundreds fined.
Police officers accompanied by the military have already enforced lockdowns, and pressure is mounting on people to get vaccinated. So far, some 972 people have died of COVID-19 related causes in Australia on a population of nearly 26 million, according to official data.