Luxury resort could become virus quarantine centre
THE Queensland Government has approached a resort in the Gold Coast hinterland about the possibility of it becoming "a temporary isolation centre" as part of moves to contain the new coronavirus.
In a Facebook message, the Ramada Resort at Kooralbyn said it had been sounded out about its newly renovated Packer Lodge being used as part of Queensland Government measures to limit the spread of the virus.
The lodge, where the late billionaire Kerry Packer used to stay when he was playing polo and golf at the Kooralbyn Valley, is situated 300m from the main resort.
The Facebook post said the facility may be used to isolate "low-risk Australian travellers who have recently visited a country of risk but have no symptoms of coronavirus".
"They are not coronavirus patients," the post said.
In a statement last night, a Queensland Government spokeswoman said the government was "preparing options to isolate anyone who is not able to do so in their own home".
So far, coronavirus, which began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, has infected 34,000-plus people and killed more than 700.
Although most cases have been in mainland China, other countries, including Australia, have taken precautionary measures to contain its spread.
All Australian travellers returning from China since February 1 must self-isolate for two weeks.
Five people have been diagnosed with the virus in Queensland, all part of the one Chinese tour group, who travelled from Wuhan.
The group of nine remain in quarantine in the Gold Coast University Hospital.
In its Facebook post, the Kooralbyn resort said its discussions with the Queensland Government had been "nothing but professional with the only focus being helping out the wellbeing of all Australians by closely controlling the unnecessary spread of the virus".
"The possibility is that we may never have anyone or very few people using the Packer Lodge for isolation purposes when the situation is under control," the post said.
"We ask our fellow Australians to please refrain from listening to alarmists and fear mongers."
Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause, who visited Kooralbyn on Saturday, said the community was shocked that the Government had not consulted them.
"It begs the questions then, how many other secret locations there are in place around southeast Queensland, or indeed around the rest of Queensland as well," he said.
"I think there's an obligation on the part of Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Government to notify people if there are going to be these quarantine areas in place."
The State Government spokeswoman said the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus in Queensland was low.