Border lockout strands Imbil doctor for three months
AN IMBIL doctor says the "onerous" Queensland border lockout has left him stranded and unable to fulfil a job on the COVID-19 frontline for more than three months.
Dr Martin Bailey has been stuck in Sydney since July after heading south to wrap up the sale of a house, which needed renovations and repairs.
"All of that is very difficult to do from 1100km away," Dr Bailey said.
Now he is forced to play an indefinite waiting game, leaving employers and the community in the lurch thanks to "onerous and difficult" border laws, he said.
"I have a job waiting for me as a medical practitioner (in Imbil)," Dr Bailey said.
Entering the state is not impossible but he needs to leave almost everything behind and fork out thousands of dollars.
"The only way to get to Queensland is to fly," he said.
Once here he will be required to quarantine for two weeks at his own expense, which the doctor estimated would cost him $3000.
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He will then need to rent a car, all while paying for the storage of his own four-wheel drive, its trailer, and the 250kg of belongings he wants to bring with him - including medical supplies.
He can only take 20kg on-board the flight with him.
"I'm willing to work on the COVID front lines but can't get there," Dr Bailey said.
Sydney is not one of the areas the state is being opened to on October 1.
Dr Bailey questioned the ongoing lockout.
"Queensland has isolated cases, NSW has isolated cases; COVID-19 is on both sides of the border," he said.
Even if a vaccine becomes available, a zero cases policy is impractical if Australia wants to reopen to the world, he believes.
"There will be a long-term period of continuing infections," Dr Bailey said, especially as some countries would have "pockets" of the virus for years.
He says the plan should be to keep COVID-19 "ALARP" - as low as reasonably possible.
"It is one of many risks that cannot be entirely eliminated," he said.
"We have to eventually trade off some level of risk against the costs involved in trying to push that risk even lower."
Dr Bailey said the focus at the moment only seemed to be on the short term.
"We still need to have some form of alternative measures like tracing," he said.
"The vaccine might not be effective long-term.
"It's a tragedy if anyone gets COVID and dies, but we accept a certain road toll and don't ban all cars.
"Everyone wants to have zero cases, but the cost of meeting that in restrictions is huge."