Security guards at Melbourne quarantine hotels had sex with isolated guests, causing a second outbreak, it has been claimed.
On Thursday, Victoria recorded 77 new cases of COVID-19, 31 of which were traced to an unknown source. This is the highest number of community transmitted cases in Victoria since the pandemic began.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has launched an inquiry into Victoria's quarantine hotels after a large number of cases were linked to them.
Andrews admitted there had been failures in the operations of the hotels.
"To say I’m disappointed about what’s happened would be an understatement," he said.
The allegations which will be investigated include:
- Hotel staff sleeping with guests
- Guards shaking hands with each other and sharing lifts
- Quarantined families visiting other guests within the hotel to play card games with each other
- Limited training being offered to security guards prior to shifts
- Security wearing personal protective equipment for extended periods of time without changing it
As of Wednesday, 310,000 residents in high-risk suburbs were forced back into lockdown, only allowed to leave for essential shopping, work, study, caregiving and exercise.
The Victorian government is urging all residents in the 36 suburbs to get tested, regardless of having symptoms.
In Victoria, returning travellers must undergo a COVID-19 test on day 11 to be eligible for release on day 14. Travellers who refuse testing will remain in quarantine for a total of 24 days.
Premier Daniel Andrews has asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to divert flights to other cities while the hotel quarantine programme is reset.
Victoria has had 301 cases of community transmission so far.
The hotel quarantine inquiry will be led by a former judge, and the findings will be released by September 25.