The Australian Olympic Committee has slammed the South Australian Government’s decision to force returning Olympians to quarantine at home for an extra 14 days.
Many of Australia’s athletes are quarantining at different hotels and facilities across Australia, but for those based in South Australia, they will have to do it all over again once they finish their initial quarantine period.
The decision from the SA Government comes despite all Australian Olympic athletes being fully vaccinated.
AOC CEO Matt Carroll says the decision from the SA Government goes completely against the expert medical advice from the Australian Institute of Sport’s chief medical officer, Dr David Hughes, and puts their mental health at risk.
“While other countries are celebrating the return of their athletes, we are subjecting ours to the most cruel and uncaring treatment. They are being punished for proudly representing their country with distinction at the Olympic Games,” Carroll said.
Camera IconCarroll labelled the SA Government’s decision to force Olympians into extra quarantine as “cruel and unfair.” (Image/Josh Woning) Credit: News Corp Australia
“We are all promoting the obvious benefits of vaccination, but this important layer of protection is not working in favour of these athletes, given this decision. By any measure, this group of returning Olympians is extremely low risk.
“Not only are our Olympians fully vaccinated, but they have also been living in a highly controlled bubble in Tokyo, taking the upmost precautions – tested daily over many weeks.”
The AOC had followed the SA Health Department’s Exemption process, but Carroll was none the wiser as to the reasoning behind the SA Government’s decision to reject their applications.
“We have received no explanation as to why our application on behalf of these athletes has been rejected,” Carroll said.
“If you run an exemption process, presumably that includes the prospect than exemptions can be granted based on scientific advice.
“We have received no response related to the expert advice we have provided.
Dr Hughes was worried about the impact on the returning athletes’ mental health the extra period of quarantine would have.
“To have individuals quarantined for such a lengthy period of time is in my opinion unreasonable and cannot be scientifically justified,” Hughes said.
“It poses a significant risk to the physical and mental wellbeing of the individuals concerned.
“National Cabinet took a position that a double quarantine arrangement was unacceptable. Every Covid-safe procedure we have asked the Olympians to undergo, they have complied with.
“They can safely transfer to their home states after the mandatory hotel quarantine period without interacting with the public.
“Athletes subject to home quarantine will not be permitted a welcome-home hug.
“Either the athlete’s family must move away, the athlete must find a way of isolating from the family or the entire family goes into quarantine.
“That is not an acceptable option for someone who is fully vaccinated and who has already just completed two weeks’ quarantine.”Internet Explorer Channel Network