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‘Fawlty Towers’: Major breach that led to Victoria being cut off

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Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday pointed to a report that revealed “at least a significant number of the outbreaks in the north of the city are attributable to staff members in hotels”.

The state’s hotel quarantine “failure”, as Mr Andrews himself described it, will be the subject of an inquiry and is the reason behind the Premier having flights redirected to other states.

Victoria has housed thousands of overseas arrivals in quarantine since the compulsory hotel self-isolation came into effect, but serious failings in the system have been exposed.

The bungle has been described as a “farce” and compared to an episode of Fawlty Towers.

In a firey rant this morning radio presenter Neil Mitchell said Victorians are angry about the stuff-up.

“Daniel Andrews has stuffed it up,” he said on the Today show. “Security guards who were used to guarding supermarkets are guarding people in hotel quarantine. 50 cases have come out of hotels and he still won’t have the military in.

“It wouldn’t be in the suburbs if we had done the quarantine properly and they wouldn’t have to have the tests. Victorians are angry, not because they have to be locked down because it was probably avoidable.”

[IMAGE]

The Stamford Plaza Hotel is one of two hotels linked to outbreaks. Picture: Ian CurrieSource:News Corp Australia

Mr Andrews admitted there was a big problem with the system.

“Clearly there has been a failure in the operation of this program,” Mr Andrews said in a statement.

“The whole way through this, I’ve been upfront with the people of Victoria. And to say I’m disappointed about what’s happened would be an understatement.”

So what went wrong?

There are only two hotels to have been named as the source of confirmed outbreaks, the Rydges on Swanston in Carlton and the Stamford Plaza in Melbourne’s city centre.

However, testing has indicated a “very significant number” of cases in late May and early June could be linked to a breach of infection control protocols by staff at the hotels.

Not an awful lot of detail about what went wrong in both hotels is clear at this point and the Victorian government is launching an investigation.

However, it is clear there has been a lapse in social distancing measures between staff members and state government contractors at the hotels.

The Age reported security guards at both hotels were being put to work without being trained in infection control.

[IMAGE]

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said there has been a clear failure in the system. AAP Image/James RossSource:AAP

In statement the Stamford Plaza said that, on June 13, a state government security contractor had also tested positive for coronavirus.

“This security personnel was not under the employ of Stamford Plaza,” the statement said.

Now the Stamford Plaza outbreak has grown to 29 cases – the second biggest since Victoria’s state of emergency began in March. The Rydges on Swanston in Carlton has also had 19 security guards, hotel staff and their families infected by the virus.

It was also revealed on Friday that a third of people in hotel quarantine in Victoria had refused to take a coronavirus test. Despite that, Victoria will not make taking a test a condition of leaving quarantine.

However from today, international flights are being diverted away from Melbourne. The state government is beefing up security in hotels by advertising for parole and prison officers, sheriffs and other authorised officers to fill hundreds of new quarantine jobs.

It is understood that there will be tougher rules for those in the hotels — meaning walks outside will be forbidden. This follows the rules in NSW where guests were locked in hotel rooms for their entire quarantine stay.

Before, the 20,000 people who had stayed in hotel quarantine system in Victoria had been allowed out for daily or in some cases weekly walks in the company of private security guards.

Hotel quarantine in Victoria feels like watching an episode of Fawlty Towers #COVID19Vic

— Sophie Elsworth (@sophieelsworth) June 30, 2020

Chairman Dan’s government is a farce. Why not bring in the ADF to fix up hotel quarantine stuff ups?

Victoria is now Corona stuff up capital of Australia

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