Western Australia has moved to beef up its hotel quarantine system after a self-described “fringe scientist” bragged about escaping for 10 hours before she was finally caught. Thankfully, she tested ultimately tested negative for COVID-19.
Jenny D’Ubios spent the week before her escape watching videos about coronavirus conspiracy theories, as well as sharing anti-5G and anti-fluoride posts on Facebook, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. She was particularly keen on an anti-lockdown group from Melbourne called Reignite Democracy Australia.
In a video she uploaded, D’Ubios, 49, threatened to escape from Perth’s 5-star Pan Pacific Hotel if she wasn’t let out soon.
“They’re going to use the army to mass vaccinate you for a 0.03 per cent contraction rate of a virus that doesn’t exist with a 99 per cent healing rate,” she said.
“I’m done having to suffer because people won’t stand up for their rights.”
On Boxing Day, she finally followed through. Roughly 10 hours after leaving the hotel unlawfully, she turned herself in at a hospital.
D’Ubios now faces a fine of up to $50,000 and 12 months in prison, and has been refused bail.
“That person’s luck has run out and they are now in custody of police and as a result of that are facing significant fines or other measures,” WA Acting Health Minister Roger Cook told reporters on Tuesday.
On top of that, the Western Australian government is now trying to make sure this never happens again.
New rules will mean that security guards will be allowed to actually detain any travellers who try to skip quarantine.
Police will also be given a more prominent role in the whole process, while people who threaten to escape will be moved to a special heavily guarded, high-risk hotel.
Finally, physical barriers will be looked at so that all entry and exit points in hotels are secure.
“Some people believe that they are too harsh but it has been successful in stopping COVID-19 from breaking out in Western Australia,” Cook said.
“It is why we have not had a case of community transmission for 262 days. That has not happened by chance.
“It has happened because of the strict measures we have put in place from our borders to our hotels. Those measures have been constantly reviewed.”
After seeing what transpired from Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine system, and with new lockdown restrictions in NSW, Western Australia will need to act swiftly to make sure nothing like this happens again in future with someone who has contracted the virus.