Australia is one of the countries that has successfully contained Covid-19, with just 108 deaths in a population of over 25 million people. This is partly due to an early lockdown and partly due to strict mandatory quarantine measures.
Everyone landing from abroad must go into a hotel for 14 days, where they are confined to their room for the duration. A friend of mine outlined the arrival experience at the end of this flight review. People who purchased their flight before midnight on 12 July or earlier are not charged, but after that a single adult is billed AU$3,000 (US$2,085, €1,845, £1,650) to quarantine in Sydney.
Can I Visit My Family? Yes And No
As an Australian citizen, I am permitted to travel to Australia without restriction. That being said, there are no special quarantine exemptions for anyone whatsoever. If you’re coming from abroad, into a hotel you go.
This means that in theory I can head on home, see the family and then head back to Ireland. No problem. However, the trip I booked in February for November is for 16 days. Fat chance that I am going to spend 14 of those locked in a hotel room.
An alternative here would be to extend my visit, so I do 14 days in quarantine, then stay another couple of weeks after that. This is not an option as I would not have enough annual leave from my work to do it.
This is also impacting other Australians who are living abroad. The Sydney Morning Herald published some of their concerns in an article here, which was quite timely as I was already preparing this one.
Mandatory Quarantine Is Okay, Just Change The Method
Look, I get it. Mandatory quarantine makes sense, and is one reason why Australia has dealt with the pandemic so well. It should remain in place until they sort out air bridges or a fast test on arrival or something like that.
I’d be happy with a home quarantine, as I’d stay at my parents place for 14 days. They can even make me wear an electronic collar that explodes if I leave the house a la The Running Man if they want. Or an ankle tracking bracelet, or whatever. Just don’t make me stay in a hotel!
While I am lucky in that my family are well enough, there are people who might not be so lucky. While the hotel quarantine is working (if you overlook what happened in Melbourne), there should be a clear plan on the next steps. It is not feasible to keep it going long term. Let’s hope there is progress on alternatives sooner rather than later. Either way, if things don’t change, I will be rescheduling my visit.
I shouldn’t complain too much though. Australians are not permitted to leave the country at the moment, so at least I live somewhere where we are permitted to travel (from next week). Things could be a lot worse!
What do you think of mandatory quarantine? Have you experienced it anywhere and how did you find it? Perhaps you have an idea for an alternative? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
The Running Man still via Pinterest.