The WA president of the Australian Medical Association has welcomed a proposal to turn Rottnest Island into a quarantine zone, saying even “dongas” in his “backyard” would be preferable to sticking with the existing quarantine hotel system. Premier Mark McGowan confirmed yesterday that Rottnest was being considered after Tuesday’s revelation that a returned traveller staying at the Pan Pacific Hotel caught COVID-19 from an infected man in the room next door. It was the second time since April that transmission of the disease has taken place within the Pan Pacific after a security guard caught the virus at work and passed it on to two of his Nollamara housemates. AMA WA president Andrew Miller told The West Live today that almost anything would be better than relying on a hotel system that had repeatedly failed. “It is only really bureaucratic laziness or political paralysis that leaves us in a situation where we’ve been unable to use our collective imagination and resources to isolate COVID-positive people, so they’re not infecting innocent guests who came in with no COVID and left with a terrible disease,” Dr Miller said. The State Government is also investigating the feasibility of building a fit-for-purpose hub in Busselton or Exmouth. “Wherever they want to build (a quarantine hub), I don’t care; if they want to put it in my backyard, I’ll throw the gate open and they can come round with their $5 billion surplus and put some dongas in there tomorrow, which will be plenty to accommodate the COVID-positive people we have,” Dr Miller said. The preliminary work comes as the Federal Government continues to rule out the use of immigration detention centres — such as on Christmas Island — or defence bases. Dr Miller did not just single out the McGowan Government’s handling of quarantine, he also said the Federal Government needed to shoulder some of the load. Given that billions of people were yet to contract COVID-19 or be vaccinated against it, and the likelihood of new variants emerging, he said quarantine was going to be a necessary evil for the foreseeable future. So Federal and State governments should stop playing the blame game and get on with improving it. “We have an awful lot of work to do ... so let’s get on with getting some professional quarantine in place instead of this farcical joke we have where people are saying, ‘Maybe it’s the rooms at the end of the corridor that are the problem’,” Dr Miller said. “We’ve got two governments involved here that are pointing the finger ... I just want to whack their heads together.” It is understood that the McGowan Government is keen to avoid closing Rottnest entirely as it did last year when cruise ship passengers were quarantined on the island.