20 July 2021

ANU to quarantine more students, officials from tomorrow

| Dominic Giannini
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Australian National University

Another cohort of students and Australian officials are expected to begin their quarantine period at ANU tomorrow (20 July). Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The Australian National University (ANU) will again be used to quarantine returning students and Australian officials, with the first cohort due tomorrow (20 July).

Davey Lodge will be used to quarantine the students while the ANU apartments on Liversidge Street will be used for officials. No numbers have been confirmed, but it is understood that dozens of apartments will be used for quarantine.

More than 200 students have completed quarantine or stay at home orders on campus since late June. Around 600 students are currently waiting to return to ANU from NSW where people in the Greater Sydney region are stuck in lockdown and cannot enter the ACT without a valid exemption.

All returning travellers are vaccinated, the university told staff in an email notifying them of the arrangements.

ACT Health and ACT Policing will oversee the quarantine. Quarantine arrangements in the ACT have been very successful and we are confident they have very robust measures in place,” the email said.

“The units are traditionally used for visiting staff and are currently vacant. No ANU staff or students will interact with the quarantining travellers.

“Your health and safety are our highest priority, so we and ACT Health are taking all necessary measures to help keep you and the rest of our community safe.”

READ ALSO Vaccine registration expands, quarantining Canberrans get access to lockdown payments

Those in isolation will not be able to access any areas used by the public during their 14-day quarantine period.

Davey Lodge at ANU was used to quarantine around 30 Commonwealth officials who returned from overseas after travelling as part of Australia’s G7 delegation.

ACT Health had knocked back a proposal by the university to quarantine returning international students on campus just months ago, saying the accommodation was not fit for purpose as the rooms at Davey Lodge do not have facilities like balconies and kitchens that ACT Health requires.

However, the lodge complies with national quarantine requirements. Additional requirements in the ACT are linked to the Territory’s obligations as a human rights jurisdiction.

READ MORE ACT cut out of deliberations but scrambled to get ANU quarantine ready for G7 delegates

An ANU spokesperson said the domestic quarantine protocols were developed in conjunction with ACT Health.

“We have successfully quarantined returning domestic students on campus during 2020 and 2021.

“We are working with ACT Health to update quarantine and operational protocols to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the context of the delta strain,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that students should not attempt to return to the ACT until they had permission to do so after ACT Policing fined 13 students $1000 each for returning to the ACT despite having their exemption requests rejected.

“We urge students in lockdown areas to stay tuned and not attempt to cross borders until the University gives them a clear direction,” the spokesperson said.

ACT Health approved 757 exemption applications for people arriving from NSW and Victoria between 12 and 18 July.

The cohort will add to the 541 people currently quarantining, and the 811 people subject to stay at home orders in the ACT as exposure locations across NSW and Victoria continue to grow.

People travelling to the ACT from Victoria and the Greater Sydney region cannot enter the ACT without a valid declaration. Returning residents must fill out an online declaration form before travelling and are subject to the stay at home requirements.

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What a terrible decision. Why on earth are international students being allowed into Australia when many Australian citizens are still stranded overseas? Citizens need to be given priority over international visitors, students or travellers.

Joriel,
Reread the article. This isn’t about international students being let back in before citizens.

The quarantine facilities are being used for official government travellers.

Stephen Saunders7:44 am 20 Jul 21

Morrison has stranded 35,000 Australians abroad for well over a year, and it’s a non issue. Completely normalised.

If you’re ruling class, VIP, Caitlyn Jenner, student, or migrant, come on down, we’ve got a “special” “extra” quarantine place. If you’re an ordinary citizen on a passport, tell somebody who cares.

I am especially disappointed in Brian Schmidt, who throughout a national crisis, has pushed for ANU (not Australian) interests.

Yeah Stephen Saunders, about those 35,000 “stranded Australians”. What percentage of them used their second passport to get work in the country in which they are now stranded. Now the gravy train has come to a screaching halt, they are waving their Australian passports and demanding to get back here. The press can always find a sad story to represent the worst side of a situation and those cases do deserve special consideration, but the majority of those Aussies overseas have been caught out in a situation of their own making.

Capital Retro9:58 am 20 Jul 21

I thought the consequences of a global pandemic had stranded people abroad. Next thing you will be saying is Morrison is causing all this cold and wet weather we are getting.

So you don’t know why the government might need to have official overseas travellers to represent our interests across the globe?

You’re also confusing the issue because these aren’t international students being allowed back in, that proposal was rejected.

And as for the rich people or elites, they are allowed to come because they are fully paying for the entire quarantining process and enforcement activities They don’t take up another person’s spot because they fully fund themselves.

HiddenDragon9:13 pm 19 Jul 21

If, as others have plausibly suggested, the students in question were vaccinated overseas, that raises the question of with what?

If the answer is with one of the vaccines which are proving to be not overly effective in some countries in our region, then the quarantining arrangements need to be very, very careful. There were news reports today that the PM has been granted an exemption to travel to Canberra from Sydney but will be required to submit to daily Covid tests – if true, that requirement should also apply to these students.

People are mixing up the issues here.

There are two groups, official government approved travellers who need to quarantine when returning from overseas.

The second group are local students who need to isolate/quarantine because of where they’ve been. The ANU has not been allowed to bring back overseas international students as explained in the article but it is written in a confusing manner.

The official government travellers have been vaccinated here.

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