Australia Considers Outback Quarantine Camps…
Australia Considers New Covid-19 Quarantine Strategy: Outback Isolation
SYDNEY—Australia has relied on one of the world’s most aggressive quarantine programs to keep the coronavirus at bay. Now, one leader wants to go further by housing returned travelers in Outback camps far from cities as new Covid-19 variants threaten the country’s success.
The premier of Queensland state wants to repurpose camps designed for resources workers as isolation hubs in remote scrubland where temperatures can top 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It follows an outbreak of a highly contagious coronavirus strain at a quarantine hotel in Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city and the state capital, with a population of about 2.5 million people.
“I think with this new strain, we have to put all options on the table, and these are sensible, rational options,” said Annastacia Palaszczuk, who was re-elected as Queensland premier in late October in part due to her center-left government’s tough measures to contain Covid-19.
The idea of using remote camps illustrates how leaders in places that had crushed the virus are considering more extreme measures to protect people from new variants of the coronavirus, which emerged in the U.K. and South Africa and have since spread to more countries. Currently, travelers returning to Australia are housed in hotels, often close to city airports, for 14 days.
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French President Emmanuel Macron faced significant criticism for his comments claiming that he would like to “piss off” unvaccinated individuals.
Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination.
“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”
The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response.
His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president.
“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”
She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC.
But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.”
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