Final preparations are underway at the Victorian Quarantine Hub with the facility due to accept its first residents from Monday.
This marks a significant milestone in Victoria’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic as quarantine requirements for unvaccinated travellers continue to play a critical role in how we stay open.
As hotel quarantine is gradually phased out over the coming month, the hub will become Victoria’s sole quarantine site and from April will have capacity to accommodate up to 1000 residents at any one time.
As well as unvaccinated travellers, the facility can accommodate eligible community members who are covid-positive but cannot isolate at home, such as healthcare workers. It could also operate as emergency accommodation after natural disasters, and it will be critical in any future pandemics.
Unlike hotels, which needed to be retrofitted to meet quarantine and ventilation requirements, the hub has been designed in a way which places infection prevention and control at the heart of all its operations.
The hub is made up of cabin-style accommodation with entry and exit points via outdoor decks, so the virus cannot spread through shared corridors and other internal spaces.
The accommodation is split up across four separate and secure villages, with all services and amenities delivered directly onsite to limit any unnecessary internal or external movement.
Encapsulating the lessons from hotel quarantine, the hub will operate in an open-air setting and rely on the latest technology - including bespoke ventilation systems designed by IPC experts and CCTV monitoring of the villages.
Guests will have access to in-house electronic food ordering and entertainment - which also serve to minimise contact between staff and residents.
The site will be managed by COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, with Victoria Police providing perimeter security.
CQV has commenced onsite training and orientation for approximately 560 staff as well as stress-testing all systems onsite to ensure its robust IPC processes are in place ahead of the first arrival of residents.
The VQH is a jointly funded Commonwealth-State project, with the Victorian Government investing an initial $15 million for the planning and design in addition to funding the facility’s operating costs, equipment and operating system fit-out. The Australian Government funded the remainder of the project, including construction costs.
Quote attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“The Omicron variant has shown us we must continue to be flexible in our pandemic response - and the purpose-built Victorian Quarantine Hub will be vital to how we manage pandemics today and into the future.”
Quote attributable to CQV Commissioner Emma Cassar
“The hub’s open-air setting will eliminate many of the challenges of hotel quarantine, with standalone cabins allowing for a constant flow of fresh air and no shared ventilation systems among residents.”
Reviewed 19 February 2022