- Review of hotel quarantine delivers immediate changes to further strengthen regime
- Hotel quarantine security granted specific power under Emergency Management Act
- Improved risk matrix for the elevation of people to high-risk quarantine hotel
Western Australia's supervised hotel quarantine facilities have been strengthened further, following an immediate review ordered by the McGowan Government.
New specific powers under the Emergency Management Act will be granted for security who work at State hotel quarantine facilities, to give them enhanced legal protection to prevent a person from breaching a quarantine direction given under the Act.
Further training of security personnel will be conducted to ensure as authorised officers they comply with the directions of the State Emergency Coordinator.
The authorised power is administered through Section 61 of the Emergency Management Act for the sole purpose of enforcing hotel quarantine.
An improved risk matrix is being implemented to enhance decision-making when moving people to WA's dedicated high-risk hotel quarantine - which has WA Police on guard.
The matrix will guide WA Police and WA Health to jointly assess risk and determine if a traveller should be placed in, or move to, the high-risk hotel quarantine facility.
The review also recommended the enhancement of physical barriers where possible, to limit the ability for quarantine travellers to exit the hotel without assistance.
While measures such as locked down floors and lifts are already used throughout State hotel quarantine, the addition of secured entry and egress points controlled by security will add further barriers to a traveller unlawfully leaving quarantine.
The review was conducted by the State Emergency Coordinator and State Health Incident Coordination Centre, with these new measures now being implemented as a priority.
A review panel comprising of WA health experts will monitor the broader public health issues associated with the tightened security framework over people quarantined on public health grounds to determine if any further adjustments are required.
Comments attributed to Acting Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook:
"Given we are in a State of Emergency, this review has been conducted swiftly and provided immediate enhancements of our hotel quarantine system.
"This global pandemic is rife around the world so it's absolutely crucial we do everything we can to tighten and further strengthen our systems to protect the WA community.
"We've made further changes to our hotel quarantine operation to bolster it and help our people on the ground better manage day-to-day activity and provide a framework for future issues.
"Throughout the pandemic we've continued to make adjustments to enhance the system such as providing regular COVID-19 testing for our hotel quarantine workers, and this has put WA in good stead and helped prevent the spread of the virus.
"All measures are to protect the WA community and keep our State safe and strong.
"There are rules in place that serve and protect the community and those who choose to ignore them will be held to account and face hefty consequences.
"I want to thank the State Emergency Coordinator Chris Dawson for leading this review, in conjunction with the State Health Incident Coordination Centre."
Minister's office - 6552 6500