Thousands of COVID-19 close contacts in Victoria not yet tested

Original article by Paul Sakkal, Cassandra Morgan
The Age – Page: Online : 23-Jul-21

Victoria has recorded 26 new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, although only two of them were active in the community while they were infectious. Some 16 of the new cases have been partially vaccinated, while five are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, more than 19,000 Victorians are self-isolating because they are close contacts of infected people or they have visited exposure sites. Professor Catherine Bennett of Deakin University has questioned why there is no legal requirement for them to be tested soon after going into isolation; at present they are only required to test negative on the 13th day of their two-week quarantine period.

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DEAKIN UNIVERSITY

Victoria to test hotel quarantine staff daily after worker’s mystery Covid case

Original article by Elias Visontay
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 9-Feb-21

The Victorian government has introduced changes to its quarantine hotel system after a second worker contracted the virus in less than a week. Amongst other things, quarantine hotel staff will be tested for the coronavirus every day, even if they have not worked a shift, while all staff will be issued with personal protective equipment. The changes were implemented after a Grand Hyatt employee contracted the UK variant and a woman tested positive for COVID-19 after completing a shift at the Holiday Inn on 7 February. Health authorities hope that genomic sequencing will help to determine how the woman contracted the virus.

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Hotel handed $500k to quarantine no one

Original article by Rachel Baxendale
The Australian – Page: 1 & 11 : 6-Nov-20

The Victorian government’s handling of its hotel quarantine program has come under renewed scrutiny. It has been revealed that the Sands Golf Resort in Torquay was paid $511,500 to house returned travellers under two state government contracts. However, the resort was not used as a quarantine hotel, and the Chinese-linked company that owned it subsequently went into administration. The company was also sanctioned for visa fraud less than a week before it was awarded the first government contract. The inquiry into the quarantine program will release its interim report on 6 November.

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Concerned agency silenced in quarantine inquiry

Original article by Peta Credlin
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 3-Nov-20

The spread of COVID-19 from Victoria’s hotel quarantine program has led to the deaths of over 800 people, with the infection outbreak being blamed on the use of poorly trained private security guards rather than police or Australian Defence Force personnel. The botched program is the subject of an inquiry, and the Victorian Government Purchasing Board has complained to Victorian Treasury that it was not approached to provide evidence to the inquiry nor asked to provide input into Treasury’s statement. The Board contends that statement overlooked what it claims was the failure of the Department of Jobs, Precincts & Regions to follow correct procurement accreditation procedures when awarding private security contracts.

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VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT PURCHASING BOARD, VICTORIA. DEPT OF JOBS, PRECINCTS AND REGIONS, VICTORIA. DEPT OF TREASURY AND FINANCE

Peta Credlin documentary: Explosive new claim about Victoria’s second wave origin

Original article by Ben Graham
News.com.au – Page: Online : 2-Nov-20

Sky News host Peta Credlin has claimed the inquiry into Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program overlooked key evidence. Andrew McLean’s company Elite Protection Services was in charge of security at Rydges on Swanston, from where it is believed the vast majority of Victoria’s second wave COVID-19 infection cases emanated. McLean says he prepared an extensive submission that outlined breakdowns in command and breaches in protocol at the hotel, but his submission was not accepted as evidence and he was never asked to appear as a witness. McLean says infected workers from the Cedar Works meat plant were sent to stay at the hotel by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, but that it was a mistake to allow them to be at the same hotel as returned travellers, as they were quarantining voluntarily and could ignore directions given to them by security guards. For Credlin’s full report, follow the link provided.

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SKY NEWS, ELITE PROTECTION SERVICES PTY LTD, VICTORIA. DEPT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, CEDAR MEATS (AUST) PTY LTD

Andrews and staffers to hand over phone and text records

Original article by Ewin Hannan, Tessa Akerman
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 12-Oct-20

The board of inquiry into Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program has requested access to the telephone records of Premier Daniel Andrews and his senior staff. This includes Chris Eccles, the head of Department of Premier & Cabinet. Andrews has indicated that his government will provide full access to this data, including text messages and all messages that were posted on encrypted apps in relation to the quarantine program. The inquiry is still trying to determine who was responsible for the decision to use private security guards.

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VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

Labor MPs disgusted by treatment of Mikakos

Original article by Alex White,Kieran Rooney,Sharon McGowan
Herald Sun – Page: 10 : 28-Sep-20

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been criticised by some members of his own government over his treatment of former health minister Jenny Mikakos. One state Labor MP has described Daniels as a "tyrant" and a "dictator", after Mikakos resigned from both the health portfolio and parliament on 26 September. Mikakos said she cannot continue to serve in Andrews’ cabinet following his comments to the inquiry into the state’s hotel quarantine program. Amongst other things, Andrews said Mikakos was ‘accountable’ for the botched program. Martin Foley will take over the health portfolio.

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VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET,VICTORIA. DEPT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES,AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Cash-in-hand security

Original article by James Campbell, Matt Johnston
Herald Sun – Page: 8 : 7-Jul-20

The scandal over Victoria’s troubled hotel quarantine program continues to deepen. Written statements from several security guards allege that they were paid $22 cash per hour and no superannuation to work at the Crown Promenade Hotel when it was being used to quarantine returned travellers. They also allege that they were not provided with pay slips or asked to supply tax file numbers. They claim to have been hired by a security firm that was subcontracted by Unified Security.

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UNIFIED SECURITY GROUP (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, CROWN PROMENADE HOTEL, CROWN RESORTS LIMITED – ASX CWN

Australian Defence Force on coronavirus war footing

Original article by Rebecca Urban
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 29-Jun-20

Victoria reported a total of 90 new coronavirus cases on the weekend of 27-28 June, and there are now 231 active cases in the state. Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged the possibility of imposing a ‘stay-at-home’ order on residents in suburbs that have been identified as coronavirus hotspots. Australian Defence Force personnel assisted in carrying out more than 40,000 coronavirus tests in these suburbs on the weekend. Meanwhile, the state government has advised that people who have returned from overseas will now face a 10-day extension of their two-week quarantine period if they refuse to be tested for the virus.

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VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE