New Zealand’s health minister has voiced displeasure at Australia’s plan to resume deportations in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
A secure isolation hotel is being prepared in Auckland to quarantine 30 New Zealand deportees from Australia; the first arrivals since Covid-19 gripped both sides of the Tasman.
Health minister Chris Hipkins said: “We’re receiving them because we’re obliged to receive them but it would be wrong to say we’re happy about it. However, Australia is within its legal right to do what they’re doing.”
Hipkins said the utmost would be done to ensure they were effectively quarantined, and safely released into the community.
In Australia, a guard working at a makeshift immigration detention centre at Melbourne’s Mantra Bell City hotel in Preston has tested positive for Covid-19.
The third floor of the hotel is being used as a detention centre for about 65 refugees and asylum seekers brought to Australia under the repealed medevac laws.
The Department of Home Affairs told Guardian Australia that the guard had tested positive on 8 July after developing symptoms the day before. He had not worked at the hotel since 4 July and had minimal contact with other staff or detainees.
Australian Border Force staff informed the men of the diagnosis late on Sunday night.
A refugee present told Guardian Australia that “tension was high” at the meeting, and that the men expressed their fears of contracting the coronavirus. Men had seen workers with protective gear cleaning the hotel earlier that morning.
The Australian state of New South Wales has recorded 14 new cases of coronavirus in the 24-hours to 8pm last night.
Eight of the new cases are connected to a cluster at a clyster at a restaurant and pub, the Crossroads Hotel. They include five people who had attended the hotel and three of their close contacts.
Four of those cases had already been reported to the media so the number of cases connected to the cluster has increased to 13.
Only four of the new cases were returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
Two cases were in NSW residents who picked up the virus in Victoria and have been self-isolating since returning to NSW.
NSW Health confirmed that a number of ADF members were in self-isolation after attending the Crossroads Hotel but so far none have tested positive.
In the UK, more than 100 outbreaks of coronavirus are cropping up every week, health secretary Matt Hancock has revealed, announcing that there would be “more targeted local action and less national lockdown”.
The Hancock wrote in an article in the Telegraph that small localised lockdowns in affected communities and new portable walk-in centres were helping to get many outbreaks under control “swiftly and silently”.
The lockdown imposed on Leicester after a surge in infections, the first of its kind in the country, will be reviewed by Hancock this week.
The paper reports that door-to-door testing, which was used in the worst-hit areas of Leicester, is to be used more widely to curb outbreaks in the coming months. Portable walk-in centres will also be stationed in areas where there is a flare-up of the virus: