Melbourne quarantine fiasco: Guards slept with quarantined guests

Melbourne quarantine fiasco: Guards slept with quarantined guests. By Rachel Blaxendale.

Victoria has confirmed 77 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday — with 31 new cases where the source is unknown.

…Thursday is the fourth straight day with more than 60 new cases, and the fifteenth straight day with a double digit increase. …

A security guard has blown the whistle on a serious lack of training at Melbourne’s quarantine hotels, which has been identified as the source of the city’s second outbreak of coronavirus.

The guard, identified only as George, broke a gag order to appear on the Today show this morning, where he revealed he received only five minutes of training before being tasked to one of Melbourne’s quarantine hotels.

“And that was the PPE and everything, the box and dice and then we were sent up to your level,” he said.

“Every hotel quarantine has subcontracting happening and that’s the way the companies are making money out of this,” he said. …

His training was conducted by the head of the company’s carpark management, but George said the real problem was security companies hiring subcontractors to work at a much cheaper rate than regular guards. …

Victorian authorities should “throw the book” at hotel quarantine operators that contributed to the resurgence of Melbourne coronavirus cases if the allegations are upheld, says Health Minister Greg Hunt. …

While highlighting the success of the hotel quarantine system in bringing 60,000 Australians home, Mr Hunt said if correct, there had been an “unacceptable set of breaches” at two hotels which needed to “be dealt with”. …

Some security firms allegedly ­exploited the pandemic by using fake names for non-existent workers and paid workers in cash, long a scourge in the security industry. It also claims that some hotel guards slept with guests, security personnel wore personal protective equipment for up to eight hours without changing it, guards shook hands and shared lifts in a major breach of regulations and some of them had just six hours of ­infection control training and were caught sleeping on the job.

In NSW, hotel quarantine guarding was performed by police. No outbreak occurred. (Don’t defund the police, please.)