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Eyebrows have been raised after at least one resident of a coronavirus health hotel in Melbourne was seen being evacuated from the establishment with a black garbage bag over her head.
Peculiar Nine News footage showed a woman being chaperoned by a PPE-clad health worker from the Holiday Inn on Flinders Lane with the bag pulled over her head on Tuesday morning.
Thirty-one guests had to be moved due to water damage to four floors caused by wrongly activated sprinklers.
Thirteen of the guests have been diagnosed with Covid-19, while 18 are displaying symptoms
Premier Daniel Andrews insisted the people being moved had been supplied with sufficient protection prior to being transported – a surgical mask and hand sanitiser.
He clarified the wearing of garbage bags was not part of the health recommendation, and individuals had chosen to don the opaque coverings to protect their identities.
Similarly bizarre scenes were captured last when when guests who were relocated from the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport to the Pullman Hotel were spotted wear bin liners as makeshift PPE.
The premier called on the media to be respectful of the individuals, who "frankly don't want to be identified".
"It serves no public value at all to be taking photos of people. We wouldn't let you do it in a hospital, they're only wearing this stuff because they've made a judgement," he told reporters.
"They don't have to wear it, it wasn't issued, it's over and above all the PPE that we give...it's to protect their personal privacy. They've made that decision, not us, and they're entitled to make that call."
They, along with staff, are in the process of being transferred in a lengthy and delicate process to the Pullman Albert Park Hotel, which previously housed international arrivals in Melbourne for the Australian Open.
Premier wants to move quarantine away from city
Head of Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria Emma Cassar said staff working on transporting the sick individuals had worn face shields and N95 masks, with the latter set to become the new standard.
She implored media to stay away from the site, expressing that those wearing bags on their head could be compromising their health further.
"They're sick people who need to be transported, and need to be transported as quickly as we can," she told reporters.
The forced evacuation of the Holiday Inn hotel on Tuesday morning came as Daniel Andrews expressed his desire to establish a dedicated quarantine facility away from the city.
Avalon Airport near Geelong and Melbourne Airport are being considered as locations, Mr Andrews confirmed.
He said senior officials will travel to the Northern Territory to assess the Howard Springs facility's set-up which incorporates fresh air with cabins.
"There would be not zero risk but lower risk," Mr Andrews said.
The premier on Tuesday also hinted at the snap lockdown currently underway potentially ending after the five-day period.
Two new locally acquired cases were announced earlier, with both linked to the Holiday Inn cluster, which stands at 19 cases. The two cases were already isolating as household contacts of previous cases.
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