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Quarantine boss named as govt finally outlines its plans for Wellcamp

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Queensland has announced the appointment of a Quarantine Commissioner to oversee isolation arrangements as it outlined, for the first time, how the new quarantine facility near Toowoomba will operate.

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Joanne Greenfield, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner, takes the reins as quarantine boss in the State, as Queensland on Thursday recorded 16,812 new cases of COVID-19 and another nine deaths.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles outlined the long-awaited details of the Wellcamp quarantine facility, one day after the State announced the end of compulsory quarantine for fully vaccinated international travellers. That comes into force at 1m on Saturday.

But the Government maintains there is a continuing need for a purpose built quarantine facility.

Miles said that as of Thursday there are 1875 people in hotel quarantine in the State, which is half of the current capacity.

“Of course that number will reduce on Saturday when the new rules for international travellers come into place. But we expect an ongoing need for quarantine for arrivals,” Miles said.

This included for unvaccinated arrivals or those from countries whose vaccination regimes are not approved by Australian authorities.

Miles said the Federal Government had asked the State to cap arrivals at 350 a week.

There are currently 262 people in hotel isolation, directed there because their accommodation is unsuitable for home isolation.

“There is an ongoing need for suitable isolation accommodation.”

Miles said the first 500 beds at the Wellcamp facility will come online in February.

The facility consists of pods of 250 beds each which can be used separately and for different purposes. The pods will be activated each time one is needed.

“On opening the first pod will be used for travellers who still need to quarantine.”

Miles said the second pod would be used for those directed into isolation because their accommodation is not suitable.

Hotels however would still be needed for travellers in other parts of the State.

Unvaccinated arrivals will pay the same quarantine costs as they did in hotels previously and transport will be arranged.

Aspen Medical, with oversight from Queensland Health, is contracted to run the quarantine side of Wellcamp and Compass would run the non-health services there, Miles said.

Asked how much it was costing, Miles provided no figures. He said it was “all within the program budget”.

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