Insight Online News
Melbourne, June 4 : The Australian government announced on Friday that it will fund a dedicated quarantine facility for returning travellers in Victoria, where a new Covid-19 outbreak led to a lockdown.
The second-most populous state, also the hardest-hit state by the pandemic in the country, recently reported more than 60 cases linked to the current outbreak, reports Xinhua news agency.
The government funding was reportedly at about A$200 million ($153 million) for the 500-bed facility, which might be built in either Mickleham in Melbourne’s north or Avalon in the west, according to local media reports.
It came after the Victoria government called for federal aid after recently extending the restrictions for the Melbourne area by another seven days.
The Victorian government proposed the facility in April but said federal funding was needed to build it.
Construction is expected to start in September, and to be completed in January 2022.
The facility will be used on top of hotel quarantine to repatriate Australian citizens and residents stranded overseas amid the pandemic.
Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham said the decision to fund the facility was not an admission that hotel quarantine was insufficient.
Hotels have been used to quarantine international arrivals to Australia since March 2020 but breaches in the system have been responsible for several outbreaks in the community.
Australia has so far reported 30,137 confirmed cases of Covid-19, while the death toll stood at 910.
IANS / AGENCY