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New COVID-19 proposed quarantine facility confirmed

It could be running by the end of the year.

Acting Premier James Merlino confirmed the new proposed hotel quarantine site will be located in Mickleham, in Melbourne’s north this morning.

The site will be transformed into detached single-storey cabins, with a capacity of accommodating up to 500 returned travellers and the ability to scale up to 3000 beds.

The construction of the facility is estimated to cost about $200 million for a 500-person capacity site, and about $700 million for 3000-person capacity.

The project is expected to be funded by the federal government, however it is yet to be approved.

Merlino said “the request to the Commonwealth is they pay for the construction of this facility and ultimately take ownership of this facility”.

The state government will invest $15 million into the planning and design of the project before it is even approved by the federal government, “to ensure we don’t waste any time,” Merlino said.

The final decision is set to be made by the federal government in September.

It is expected to take four months to plan the site, and an additional four to construct it, meaning it could be running by the end of the year.

The announcement comes after issues with the current hotel quarantine system have been linked to outbreaks across Australia, including Victoria’s deadly second wave.

“The best time to start an alternative quarantine was 12 months ago, the next best time is now,” Merlino said.

The most recent lockdown in Western Australia has been linked to the hotel ventilation system spreading the virus between returned travellers.

The Andrews government announced in February that they intend to move away from hotel quarantine, opting for a detached cabin-style facility.

The new Mickelham site is about 30km’s north of Melbourne’s CBD, and a convenient 25-minute drive from Melbourne Airport. It is also a 25-minute drive from the Northern Hospital in Epping.

PHOTO: COVID quarantine by Scwhede66 available HERE Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.

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