Tag: Victorias

Victoria’s Covid-19 hotel quarantine inquiry is delayed by six weeks



a man wearing a suit and tie: MailOnline logo


© Provided by Daily Mail
MailOnline logo

Victorians will have to wait until Christmas for answers about how the state’s hotel quarantine program went so horribly wrong.

A report on the catastrophe – which caused the state’s second wave of coronavirus – has been delayed by six weeks.

It was due to be released on November 6 after a four-month inquiry but has been pushed back to December 21, just four days before Christmas.

The delay has been caused by additional evidence submitted since the inquiry’s hearings ended on September 28, but there are now fears important findings will be ignored as the public enjoy the Christmas holidays. 



a man wearing a suit and tie: A report on Victoria's bungled hotel quarantine program has been delayed by six weeks. Pictured: Premier Daniel Andrews


© Provided by Daily Mail
A report on Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine program has been delayed by six weeks. Pictured: Premier Daniel Andrews

In a statement, the board of inquiry, said: ‘Several documents and affidavits are presently outstanding and may lead to further enquiries.’ 

The inquiry was set up on July 2 after the virus escaped from two quarantine hotels in May and June and rapidly spread around Melbourne, forcing the city back into lockdown.

So far, 819 Victorians have lost their lives and 1,200 jobs per day are disappearing as businesses were forced to close their doors.  

The government has faced criticism for using private security guards, instead of police or ADF troops like in other states, to man the quarantine hotels. 

The inquiry has struggled to work out who made that decision as the program was set up on March 27.

Video: ASIC Chair steps down amid investigation (ABC NEWS)

ASIC Chair steps down amid investigation

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

On October 20, at an extra hearing, chief health officer Brett Sutton was asked to provide a new statement to the inquiry after emails emerged that contradicted his earlier testimony.

He previously said he did not know hotel quarantine guards were being used but an email showed he was informed. 

Professor Sutton said had not read the detail of the email at the time. 



a group of people standing around a bus: Victorians will have to wait until Christmas for answers about how the state's hotel quarantine program went so horribly wrong. Pictured: Passengers arrive for quarantine in Melbourne


© Provided by Daily Mail
Victorians will have to wait until Christmas for answers about how the state’s hotel quarantine program went so horribly wrong. Pictured: Passengers arrive for quarantine in Melbourne

After the hearing, the board requested further statements and evidence from other key players, including Premier Daniel Andrews. 

Loading...

Load Error

A statement explaining the delay read: ‘This unfortunate delay is due to the provision of additional material which occurred after the conclusion of closing submissions on September 28, 2020, as detailed at the extraordinary sitting on October 20, 2020.

‘As a result of this additional material, the board has issued several further notices to produce and requests for affidavits. Several documents and affidavits are presently outstanding and may lead to further inquiries.’

An interim report on Friday next week will include recommendations for how the quarantine program can be safely restarted. 

Mr Andrews said the interim report would allow Melbourne to resume accepting international travellers at the end of November.

‘We should be

Continue reading

Cost of inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine reaches $10million

Lawyers Tony Neal QC, Rachel Ellyard and Ben Ihle submitted their suggested findings to Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry. They are as follows: 

GOVERNMENT HAD NO PLAN

* Public servants were given just 36 hours to set up the program.

* There was no suggestion those who set up the program worked other than with ‘the best of intentions and to the best of their ability’.

* ‘Bad faith or corruption is not what the evidence shows.’

DHHS WAS IN CONTROL

* The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions played a substantial role but the Department of Health and Human Services was the control agency responsible for the program.

BRETT SUTTON SHOULD’VE BEEN IN CHARGE

* It was wrong to appoint people without public health expertise as the state controllers of the pandemic in February as it ‘influenced the way in which DHHS subsequently understood and acted on its responsibilities’.

* ‘Had the chief health officer or another person with public health expertise been appointed state controller … they would have had direct oversight of the hotel quarantine program and been able to directly influence the model of that program.’

NO ONE PERSON MADE THE DECISION TO USE SECURITY GUARDS

* ‘It can be best understood … as a creeping assumption or default consensus reached in the state control centre after the preference of Victoria Police was known.’

POLICE HAD PREFERENCE FOR GUARDS

* ‘It was not Victoria Police’s decision, but Victoria Police’s clear position that security would be preferable was a substantial contributing factor to the consensus.’

PREMIER SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD ABOUT ADF OFFER

* Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Chris Eccles should have told Premier Daniel Andrews his federal counterpart had offered Australian Defence Force support in an April 8 email exchange.

* But the initial decision not to have ADF boots on the ground was ‘reasonable and open – and no criticism should be directed to those who made those operational decisions’.

CONTRACTS WERE INAPPROPRIATE

* ‘There was insufficient supervision of those contracts to ensure compliance with the contractual terms, including as to subcontracting.’

* ‘The contracts with hotels and security companies should not have placed responsibility for PPE and infection control education on those contractors.’

HOTEL QUARANTINE RESPONSIBLE FOR SECOND WAVE

* Ninety per cent of second wave COVID-19 cases are attributable to the Rydges on Swanston outbreak in mid-May. Just under 10 per cent were attributable to the outbreak at the Stamford Hotel in mid-June.

* ‘The hotel quarantine program in Victoria failed to achieve its primary objective. The program that was intended to contain the disease was instead a seeding ground for the spread of COVID-19 into the broader community.’

* ‘The failure by the hotel quarantine program to contain this virus is, as at today’s date, responsible for the deaths of 768 people and the infection of some 18,418 others.’

PEOPLE IN QUARANTINE NOT LOOKED AFTER

* ‘The program did not always operate so as to meet the needs of those who

Continue reading

Victoria’s Covid restrictions ease as Daniel Andrews reveals 25km travel bubble and scraps exercise time limit

Melbourne’s 5km travel radius will expand to 25km from midnight under eased restrictions announced by the state’s premier Daniel Andrews.



Daniel Andrews holding a sign: Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

From 11.59pm on Sunday, residents of the city who have been under lockdown for more than 100 days will be able to travel up to 25km for either exercise or shopping.

The city’s two-hour time limit for exercise and socialising will also be scrapped and groups of up to 10 people from two households will be permitted to gather outdoors.

Hairdressers and outdoor sporting facilities including tennis courts, golf courses and skate parks will reopen, and outdoor real estate auctions will recommence.

Several changes were also announced for regional Victoria, where two adults and two children will now be permitted to visit a home and hospitality venues can increase the number of patrons to 70 people outside and 40 people inside.



Daniel Andrews wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Premier Daniel Andrews announces the easing of some restrictions on Sunday, saying Victorians had done ‘an amazing job’ during months of coronavirus lockdown.


© Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Premier Daniel Andrews announces the easing of some restrictions on Sunday, saying Victorians had done ‘an amazing job’ during months of coronavirus lockdown.

Andrews said on Sunday Victorians had done “an amazing job” during months of extended lockdown.

“What it means is that as so many cities across the world head into what is going to be a deadly winter, we in Melbourne and across Victoria are well-placed to have a Covid-safe summer and a Covid-normal 2021,” he said.

Restrictions to ease even further on 1 November

There will be further easing of restrictions in both Melbourne and regional Victoria from 11.59pm on Sunday 1 November.

From that date, Melbourne residents will be permitted to leave their homes for any reason, retail will reopen, hospitality venues will reopen with limits on the number of patrons, and two adults and two children will be able to visit another home once per day.

Andrews said if it was possible to make some of those changes safely before that date, the government would consider it.

The state announced another day of single figures for new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, with two cases recorded and no deaths.

Andrews hits back after federal MPs pile on premier

Andrews took aim at federal government MPs, including the health minister Greg Hunt, who have been critical of the state’s approach and called for a reopening in line with conditions in New South Wales.

“I don’t accept that anybody has a more complete picture of what this virus is doing in Victoria than the Victorian chief health officer, the Victoria deputy chief health officer, the Victorian health minister and the Victorian premier,” he said.

“My position to the Victorian communities but I’m not doing what is popular, I am doing what is safe. Because we don’t want to be back here again.”

Melbourne’s rolling 14-day case average dropped to 7.5 on Sunday, down 0.6 from Saturday.

Changes in Melbourne from 19 October

  • There will be no time limit on leaving your home for exercise or socialising.

  • The travel distance from your home will

Continue reading