Mike Yardley: It's time to get tough and turn quarantine into a fortress

Author
Mike Yardley,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jul 2020, 9:39AM
The Stamford Plaza where a 32-year-old man with Covid-19 escaped from managed isolation. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Mike Yardley: It's time to get tough and turn quarantine into a fortress

Author
Mike Yardley,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jul 2020, 9:39AM

So first we had the break out from the Pullman. Now the sneak out from the Stamford. Public confidence in our MIQ facilities is wobbly, despite the military precision that was drafted in to beef up our MIQS, two weeks ago.

The absconders have exposed that this trust-model system is heavily at the mercy of voluntary compliance. It’s the chink in the armour.

But how many breakouts should we be prepared to tolerate?

Clearly we can’t transform downtown hotels into super max prisons, fortified with razor -wire, watch towers and hungry dobermans.

But the fact that this homecoming halfwit from Delhi has returned a positive test, after skiving off to the supermarket on a very wandery circuit, vividly lays bare the public health risk. This selfish individual turned himself into a walking roulette wheel, for unsuspecting shoppers and staff at Countdown Victoria Street West.

The tale of the tape on CCTV has led authorities to determine there’s only a low risk that he could have infected anyone. But isn’t it insidious how one drip can open the door on the spectre of renewed community spread.

And wouldn’t you feel infuriated if you happen to manage, own, work or shop in that supermarket? This absconder has cost this shop a bomb in lost sales, closed for a clean, then weirdly reopened and hastily closed again for a deeper clean, forcing staff and shoppers into self-isolation. All because of this idiot’s wilful disregard for the law, while parked up in a five star hotel, on the taxpayer’s tit.

So, are we too trusting? Is the MIQ system still too loose, despite the military oversight? Absolutely.

Six foot fences have now been erected around the outside areas adjoining MIQ hotels. But this regime needs more security blankets. And maybe ankle bracelets for returnees.

Until you have passed a negative test, I don’t believe you should be allowed outside for a smoke, if you can make a break for it. And let’s reinforce the uniformed presence around these hotels properly, with a damn sight more military or police boots on the ground.