‘It should be mandatory’: Renewed calls for quarantine testing
A YOUNG Tasmanian quarantined in the family home for the past two weeks after arriving from COVID-19 hotspot Victoria believes testing of all travellers from that state should be mandatory.
Laura Morrisby, who was working in Melbourne teaching music theatre at a dance and drama school, returned to her native Tasmania before the Victorian capital's six-week lockdown commenced.
The 24-year-old was able to quarantine at her parents' Lindisfarne home, starting on July 8 after she flew from what has become the country's coronavirus epicentre.
Her quarantine ended on Wednesday and while she did not have symptoms of COVID-19, she wanted to be tested for peace of mind.
But she said she had difficulty with Tasmania's coronavirus hotline in arranging a test and had not been tested before the end of her quarantine as she had hoped.
"I feel like it should be mandatory because there might be people who don't take the same precautions as I'm trying to,'' she said.
"I just feel a bit uncomfortable because I know that it's a real privilege for me to be able to come to Tasmania where everyone is going about their normal lives.
"I feel a bit guilty and I know there's people in Hobart that are scared about a second wave [of coronavirus].
"And I feel like it's my responsibility that if I want to come here, I should have that peace of mind [of a negative test result],'' she said.
A Public Health Services spokesman said people in home quarantine were offered a test on day 12 of their quarantine period.
He said if anyone showed symptoms at any stage of their quarantine, they should book a test immediately.
"There is no requirement to record a negative test before being released from quarantine,'' he said.
"People who develop symptoms while in quarantine are tested and if they test positive their isolation is extended. People without symptoms are released from quarantine after completing their 14 days."
There are about 1000 people in home quarantine in Tasmania and a further 700 people in hotel quarantine at nine hotels around the state.
Calls for mandatory testing of all arrivals into Tasmania from Victoria were renewed this week after the state's first COVID-19 case for more than two months was imported from that state.
Labor said it should not be optional, but the Australian Medical Association said mandated testing was not the best strategy, and the Greens said they were guided by Public Health advice.
A Tasmanian woman tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Victoria, and was in quarantine at the Best Western hotel in Hobart before being taken to Royal Hobart Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition.
The state government and Public Health said on Tuesday that testing of all high-risk people in hotel quarantine who arrived from a hotspot like Victoria would be strongly recommended, but it was not mandatory.
Originally published as 'It should be mandatory': Renewed calls for quarantine testing