Update, Sunday, 1.30pm
SCENIC Rim mayor Greg Christensen has called for calm after news of a potential coronavirus isolation facility in Kooralbyn was leaked on Facebook.
Cr Christensen said he had received an update from Queensland's chief health officer Jeanette Young.
"I can provide the following important messages and clarification," he said.
1. For all people in Queensland the important message is, if you have been to China in the past 14 days and feel unwell, you should contact your doctor immediately.
2. Anyone who is symptomatic will be managed by Queensland Health in the health system with proper medical controls and systems.
3. There are a number of people who are being asked to self-isolate as a precaution for the 14 day incubation period. This does not mean they are infected - it is precautionary only. Some people are able to self-isolate at home and others are able to do so with the cooperation of particular hotels.
4. Queensland Health has been proactive and recognised the need for back up and alternatives for people who may not be able to support themselves appropriately for self-isolation. The Ramada Resort Kooralbyn Valley has been identified as offering a safe, secure, restive location for people in that circumstance and there is no increased risk for our community. At this time, I am advised that no self-isolating persons have taken up residence.
5. From the briefings I have received and the understanding of the planning and resourcing that is being undertaken, just as Queensland Fire & Emergency Services supported our region through the recent bushfires, I am equally confident that Queensland Health has a proper plan, proper actions and proper resources to manage the latest risks on behalf of Queensland.
"As through other recent situations, my message for our community is to stay calm, but be alert. Ignore rumours and unqualified advice. To stay informed, monitor and follow Queensland Health alerts," Cr Christensen said.
"I have agreed with Queensland's Chief Health Officer that starting Monday, council will share Queensland Health alerts and updates on the Disaster Dashboard to keep our community well informed"
Information from Queensland Health is available online:
SCENIC Rim MP Jon Krause has confirmed that the state government has an arrangement with the Ramada Resort Kooralbyn to house Australians in isolation who have travelled to at risk areas for novel coronavirus.
A Facebook post suggesting the federal government would bring coronavirus patients to Kooralbyn was denied last week by the office of federal MP Scott Buchholz, who stands by the claim that the resort was not a suitable venue.
State member for Scenic Rim Jon Krause was in Kooralbyn today and said it was poor form on the government's part that residents of Kooralbyn found out about the arrangement from the business involved in the transaction and not from a government representative.
"People are understandably concerned- and this was unloaded on them at 9pm on a Friday night by the resort and on Facebook," he said.
"I've been contacted today by dozens of people in Kooralbyn, some whom have children with compromised immune systems and who moved to the area to feel safe.
"The government needs to come clean on this issue. The region has just experienced the worst bushfire season in living memory as well as a drought."
It is understood that the resort is being paid by the government for the arrangement.
A Queensland Health spokesperson said there remained a low risk of contracting novel coronavirus in Queensland.
"People should not be alarmed and can continue to go about their daily lives unless they fall into one of the three categories requiring precautionary home-isolation:
- Anyone who has been in Hubei Province in the past 14 days;
- Anyone who was in mainland China on or since February 1 or
- Those who have been in direct contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus
Home-isolation is a precautionary measure which will help to contain the virus," the spokesperson said.
"The government is continuing to look at every measure needed to ensure those who need to self-isolate can do so, including preparing options to isolate anyone who is not able to do so in their own home."
Mr Krause called on the government to abandon any plans to house in Kooralbyn people at increased risk for developing novel coronavirus symptoms.
"Firstly, Kooralbyn is nowhere near a tertiary hospital where they can be treated if they do become ill," he said.
"The Chinese football team successfully isolated at a hotel in a larger centre proves it can be done, so why transport these people to a completely different district?"
In response to the story published on the Beaudesert Times website on Thursday, the Ramada Resort posted the announcement on Friday night, stating that it had entered an arrangement with the Queensland government and assured residents in Kooralbyn that both parties had made a responsible decision.
"The Ramada Resort Kooralbyn Valley has been approached by the Queensland Government about using the newly renovated Packer Lodge, where Kerry Packer used to stay when he was playing polo and golf at Kooralbyn Valley, as a temporary isolation facility," the post read.
"Situated 300 meters away from the main resort the facility may be used to help out those low-risk Australian travelers who have recently visited a country of risk but have no symptoms of the Coronavirus, but as a precaution still need to be isolated for 14 days.
"They are not Coronavirus patients. The state government is taking the responsible action to put them in a confined location which will be a lot safer to our whole nation than allowing them for 14 days self-isolation which could pass the virus to their family members, friends and public by them or by their family members and friends who are not on isolation
"After much consideration and deliberation by the resort management team, we are satisfied that the safety measures presented to us by Queensland Health and Queensland Police were thorough, detailed and meet all possible safety criteria.
"At any time if we have any persons in isolation at the Packer Lodge we will have police security staff and Queensland Health staff in attendance. All food delivered to the Packer Lodge and the cleanings done for them will strictly follow the Queensland health regulations.
"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. Three of the Coronavirus patients are now out of the hospital after fully recovering and the death toll is zero so far in Australia.
"We can also assure everyone that no one will be sent to the Packer Lodge for isolation unless we have assurances from Queensland Health and the Queensland Police that all measures to guarantee the safety of our staff our guests and our fellow Australians are in place, otherwise they would have been sent to the hospital immediately.
"Our discussions with the government have 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.
"We ask our fellow Australians to please refrain from listening to alarmists and fear mongers and have faith in our governments and the resort.
"The resort will keep everyone updated with any further information that comes to hand.
"The resort will be on the market for sale shortly."
Resort owner Peter Huang posted again today, calling for calm.
"I am sure most of our decent Kooralbyn people will understand and will be appreciated by the whole nation," he said.