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Prominent epidemiologist explains why India is an ‘enormous risk’ for Australia

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Prominent epidemiologist explains why India is an ‘enormous risk’ for Australia

One of Australia’s most prominent epidemiologists says there needs to be significant tightening of arrivals from India as the country grapples with a horrific surge in COVID-19 cases.

Almost 350,000 people tested positive to the coronavirus in India in the past 24 hours.

It’s killing one person every four minutes in the nation’s capital.

A person who was allowed to go to India for a wedding is believed to have sparked the COVID-19 outbreak in Perth that seeped out of hotel quarantine and sent the city into lockdown.

Mary Louise McLaws, professor of epidemiology at the University of NSW, said it was time for a “difficult decision” to be made.

“Anybody coming back from India is coming back with an enormous risk of bringing back an infection and placing everybody else in quarantine at great risk because we are using hotels that were never purpose built for housing a highly infectious disease,” she said.

“They act as a proxy hospital, yet they don’t have the regulations required of a hospital.”

Professor McLaws said she didn’t understand why purpose-built quarantine facilities still hadn’t been built.

“Quite frankly, we’ve known about this for 12 months now,” she said.

“This sadly won’t be the only pandemic we’ll see in our life time, so they won’t go to waste.

“Every state and territory needs to build one.”

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Neil Mitchell
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