Quarantine at The Bend? No thanks, says state government

Businessman Sam Shahin has offered his Tailem Bend facility to SA Health, but the department says it is inadequate.

The state government has knocked back an offer to establish a COVID-19 quarantine facility at Tailem Bend.

The owner of The Bend Motorsport Park, Sam Shahin, made the informal offer via social media on Wednesday morning.

It followed similar offers by businessmen John Wagner and Lindsay Fox to open quarantine facilities at Avalon Airport, outside Melbourne, and Wellcamp Airport, near Toowoomba, Queensland.

Moving international arrivals out of major cities could reduce the likelihood of any outbreaks of disease like the one which happened in Melbourne last week, the men suggested.

“Makes sense,” Mr Shahin said.

“Made sense months ago.”

Tailem Bend had hosted 10,000 Scouts at a national jamboree in 2019, he said, and it could do the same sort of thing again, he said – “weeks” from now, if necessary.

But Health Minister Stephen Wade shot the idea down straight away, saying The Bend did not have the facilities a medi-hotel needed.

“The national guidelines … (state) that a medi-hotel facility needs to be within good proximity of a hospital,” he said, noting that Tailem Bend’s did not have an intensive care unit.

“It’s also difficult for us to maintain an adequate supply of nursing staff and security staff for a facility that’s remote from the city.

“There’s also the issue of transportation ... I appreciate that Mr Shahin has talked about direct flights, but the prospect of that in terms of international travel is challenging.

“So there are a number of issues.”

An SA Health spokeswoman confirmed that the department would not entertain the idea.

Quarantine facilities were best located in Adelaide’s central business district, she said, in close proximity to hospitals equipped to treat COVID-positive patients who became seriously ill.

The state government opened such a facility, at Tom’s Court Hotel on King William Street, on Monday.

Get tested if you experience symptoms

Any South Australian who develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should get tested on the day those symptoms appear.

Those symptoms may include a fever or chills; an acute cough, sore throat, runny nose or shortness of breath; loss of smell or alteration in the sense of taste; or diarrhoea and vomiting.

Testing sites in the Murraylands include the south side respiratory clinic on Homburg Drive, Murray Bridge; and the highway testing site near the Caltex at Tailem Bend.

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