The bungled hotel quarantine program of Victoria is responsible for the deaths of 768 individuals and an investigation has been told of 18,000 infections.
Ben Ihle, counsel for the investigation, said that the failure to adequately train security guards, insufficient testing of detainees and ineffective infection control measures meant that the programme became “a feeding ground for the spread of COVID-19 into the community” in closing submissions to the investigation.
He concluded that the investigation could “comfortably find that the hotel quarantine programme in Victoria failed to achieve its primary objective” which was to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
“The failure by the hotel quarantine program to contain this virus is today responsible for the deaths of 768 people, and the infection of some 18,490,” Mr Ihle said.
“One only needs to pause and reflect on those figures to appreciate the full scope of devastation and despair occasioned as a result of the outbreak.”
The investigation was informed that the failure to track the system and train private security guards on infection control allowed the virus to flee the “hot hotels.”
“The program should have been accompanied by intensive and ongoing monitoring and auditing..the Victorian Government failed to ensure this was done.”
As a consequence, the infectious virus spread rapidly among security guards and hotel workers who unwittingly brought the virus across Melbourne into their homes and suburbs.
“This was a health emergency,’’ Mr Ihle said.
More to come