There is “daylight” between Western Australia’s hotel quarantine system and that of Victoria, WA’s health minister says, despite both states using private security contractors.
Concerns have been raised about whether strict isolation rules are being adhered to within the WA hotels used to accommodate overseas and interstate arrivals.
The numbers have dropped since the introduction of a cap on international arrivals and fewer exemptions for other travellers.
There is daylight between the standards that we require in our hotels and those which you’ve seen in Victoria.
But Victoria’s botched coronavirus hotel quarantine program, which has sparked a second wave of infections in the state, has left doctors nervous about WA’s similar reliance upon private security guards in its quarantine hotels.
Victoria’s scheme is now being managed by the state’s corrections and police departments, and some guards have been stood down.
Health Minister Roger Cook says there is no comparison between what had transpired in Victoria and the quarantine situation in WA, where there has been no confirmed community transmission of the virus since April 12.
“There is daylight between the standards that we require in our hotels and those which you’ve seen in Victoria in the past,” Mr Cook said on Thursday.
“We have specially trained security personnel involved in all of our hotel quarantine arrangements. In addition to that we also have Department of Health medical staff in the hotel quarantines themselves to essentially maintain the level and standard of care.”
Deputy chief health officer Robyn Lawrence was working closely with the security companies, he added.
WA on Thursday recorded a fifth consecutive day of no new cases, leaving the state with 14 active cases.
Three historical cases were identified, taking the total number to 654.
Premier Mark McGowan will on Friday announce whether the state will proceed as planned to phase five restrictions on August 1.
Phase five was scheduled to begin on July 18, removing all remaining limits on gatherings and allowing crowds of 60,000 at Optus Stadium.
But the situation in Victoria prompted WA to pause easing restrictions and a further delay is likely to be confirmed.
Treasurer Ben Wyatt meanwhile said it was pleasing to see how WA’s mining sector had boosted the nation’s coffers in his federal counterpart’s mini-budget, with the iron ore price remaining in “rude health” for longer than expected.
The state budget will be handed down the same week as the federal budget in October.