A Scottish paper asked readers whether the nation should follow Australia’s lead in locking up people who may be infected with the virus
Scotland’s largest newspaper has floated the idea of creating internment camps to forcibly detain residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 or who are “suspected” of being infected.
On Tuesday, the Daily Record tabloid asked its Facebook fans about this policy. “Australians are being detained in Covid internment camps for 14 days if they test positive or are suspected positive.” The outlet then asked: “Should we follow their lead?”
The newspaper didn’t specify how “suspected” internments might be adjudicated, and whether it would mean locking up those who are spotted sniffling excessively, for example, or citizens who refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Last month, the same tabloid reported that 35% of UK residents believe the unimmunized should be forced into lockdown “until the pandemic has passed,” citing recent polling. It suggested the survey showed strong public support for “harsher measures”Unvaccinated Scots
This idea received a lot of resistance on social media. Anti-extremism activist Maajid Nawaz said the paper was, in effect, proposing “crimes against humanity,”Others noted that Covid-19 was an idea associated with a conspiracy theory, and it had been presented in corporate media until very recently.
Scotland’s Covid-19 restrictions have been tightened in the wake of Omicron’s rapid expansion. The new Omicron variant has imposed lower indoor and outdoor capacity limits, closed down nightclubs, and discouraged holiday gatherings. According to the Daily Record, 42 Covid-19-infected patients in Scotland are now being admitted into intensive-care units.
Imitating Australia would make the mitigation program look like a prison. When three people last month escaped a Covid-19 quarantine camp near Darwin, police responded with a manhunt to apprehend the internees, even though all three had tested negative for the virus the previous day. The former mining camp was also surrounded by police checkpoints.
Despite the controversy surrounding this policy, Australia seems determined to keep it going and has begun building more Covid-19 camp. Last October, Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles told Australia’s ABC News that there will be a “continuing need” for quarantine compounds, partly to accommodate visitors who haven’t had access to vaccines. He said that “more secure” facilities will be needed for returning Australians who don’t meet the strict criteria to qualify for home isolation.