Prison staff face sleeping next-door to inmates
PRISON gyms could turned into extra accommodation, as the state ramps up its planning for a coronavirus outbreak at one of its major jails.
Brisbane Correctional Centre staff have already been told visitors to the jail with flu symptoms are to be turned away immediately.
But they also believe amendments will be made to their gym, as iron-pumping inmates make way for correctional officers to sleep in the facility during a potential two-week lockdown.
Extra beds and linen are also being brought in.
If a lockdown occurs, staff would not be allowed to leave for two weeks, they have been told.
Source - World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, other media
"It hasn't been communicated to us yet, but I believe they got extra beds, linen, and are fixing up the gym just in case," one source told The Courier-Mail.
"It's the biggest space to house or bed staff if the prison goes into lockdown.
"If we get corona, we go into lockdown as far as I know."
Queensland Corrective Services said several prison officers and inmates had been tested for COVID-19 but it was not aware of any positive results.
According to briefings provided to Together Union contingency plans include dealing with reduced staffing.
This could see a staged reduction in operations down to minimum levels of staff required for feeding and medicating inmates.
Procedures to deal with outbreaks in prisons are also in development.
A Corrective Services spokeswoman said officer safety was a top priority.
"All of our centres have reviewed and tested their business continuity plans, and we have developed concepts of operations for every part of our agency," she said.
"The safety and security of our prisons is an absolute priority, and we have put significant effort into developing contingency planning to ensure this."
Restrictions on visits include people who have travelled overseas in the last fortnight or have been in close contact with someone who has.
NEW HOPE FOR DOCTORS STRANDED ON CRUISE SHIP
THE cruise ship stranded off the coast of Chile carrying some of Queensland's leading doctors has reportedly set sail for the Falkland Islands in the hope the British government can help to bring them home.
More than 100 Australian doctors and dentists, including almost 30 Queensland physicians, have been on a medical conference-cruise onboard the MS Roald Amundsen, which hit stormy waters when the Chilean government blocked its return to port following the emergency travel bans sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
After floating off the coast of Chile for three days, the ship is now reportedly heading to the Falklands - a British territory off the coast of Argentina.
It is hoped Australia's ties with Britain will help fast-track the return of the doctors to Australia.
Many of the Queensland doctors onboard are directly involved in coronavirus response teams at some of the state's biggest hospitals and health services.
Passengers on board have been told not to talk to media and a spokesperson for cruise ship company Hurtigruten said they were unable to comment on the latest developments.