Hotel quarantine will finish in Victoria at the end of the month, with the purpose-built Victorian Quarantine Hub in Mickleham, north of Melbourne, becoming the sole quarantine site for unvaccinated travellers.
The hub, which opened in February, has gradually been ramping up operations. From April, it will have capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 residents at any one time.
As well as unvaccinated travellers, the facility can accommodate eligible community members who test positive for COVID-19, but who cannot isolate at home, such as healthcare workers. It could also operate as emergency accommodation after natural disasters. The government says the hub will be critical in any future pandemics.
“Unlike hotels, which needed to be retrofitted to meet quarantine and ventilation requirements, the hub has been designed in a way which places infection prevention and control at the heart of all its operations,” says the government.
The hub is made up of cabin-style accommodation with entry and exit points via outdoor decks, to prevent the spread of the virus through shared corridors and other internal spaces.
The accommodation is split up across four separate villages, with all services and amenities delivered directly onsite to limit any unnecessary internal or external movement.
The government says that the lessons from hotel quarantine have been taken on board in the design. The hub will operate in an open-air setting and rely on technology including bespoke ventilation systems.
“The hub’s open-air setting will eliminate many of the challenges of hotel quarantine,” says COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) Commissioner Emma Cassar, “with standalone cabins allowing for a constant flow of fresh air and no shared ventilation systems among residents.”
The hub is a jointly funded federal-state project, with the Victorian government investing an initial $15 million for the planning and design in addition to funding the facility’s operating costs, equipment and operating system fit-out. The Australian government funded the remainder of the project, including construction costs.
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