Rapid airborne transmission of Covid-19 within quarantine facilities necessitates an urgent updating of Australia’s infection prevention and control processes and a need to reconsider the buildings used to house returning Australian.
COVID-19 continues to spread within quarantine facilities and is avoiding media attention unless it escapes a quarantine centre.
In the last two months, returning Australians have become infected when staying in quarantine in Queensland, Perth, and Sydney. Hundreds of those arriving were forced into extended isolation instead of heading home when leaving quarantine in case they were in the early stages of infection or were asymptomatic spreaders.
Modification of ventilation and filtration to reduce infection rates is not always mechanically feasible, and so updating Australia’s infection prevention and control processes may need to prioritise identifying alternative quarantine centres.
Outdoor pollutants can breach building walls and closed windows and lead to increased hospitalisations and cases of asthma and heart failure and can notably reduce the chance of a successful recovery from COVID-19.
Placement of quarantine centres in locations where outdoor vehicle emissions are expected to be high, such as along main roads, or in City centres, is a secondary but critically overlooked consideration.
These views are substantiated by overseas studies from world-leading UK Research Institutes such as the University of Cambridge and Imperial College, London, who have demonstrated that SARS-Cov-2 (that causes COVID-19) spreads greater than 2 metres in seconds if buildings are not correctly ventilated.