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    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Thanks to the colleague who alerted me to this article, published on Women’s Agenda, “Christmas Island will be used to quarantine coronavirus evacuees. Medical necessity or political opportunism?”, by reconstructive plastic surgeon Dr Neela Janakiramananby (who was a junior hospital doctor during the SARS outbreak). She concludes:

    “Offshore or facility based quarantine has not historically featured in the public health response of any nation affected by either SARS or MERS, with at-home quarantine working extremely well in industrialised countries and densely populated countries such as Singapore. It does not currently feature in the public health policy of any nation, industrialised, middle income or developing, in response to the current threats posed by 2019-nCoV coronavirus. Citizens of the US have been returned to multiple states, with home-based quarantine, or hospital-based isolation depending on their medical state.

    While it is expected of any nation with the capacity to evacuate citizens who find themselves in the midst of emergencies or disasters to remove them from danger, it is unheard of to link evacuation to prolonged offshore quarantine. To access an offshore facility, many hours flight from tertiary level medical care, when dealing with a population that may become severely ill is overly draconian.

    That said, these policies of fearmongering and punitive, often racist, decision making for the purposes of making themselves look like an effective government has absolutely been a hallmark of Australian government for some decades. While it is easy to apply a fearful lens to this crisis, and tolerate the incarceration of a population that is predominantly of Chinese ethnic background, we should all be much more fearful of a government willing to quarantine evacuated Australians offshore with little evidence to support this extreme measure, than we should of this coronavirus.”

    Read more here:


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