'Exposing everyone': Guards make startling new claims about hotel quarantine

Yahoo News Staff
·2-min read

Security guards tasked with watching over Melbourne’s quarantined travellers have made a number of startling allegations.

The guards were responsible for looking after quarantined travellers for 14 days to ensure there were no breakouts of coronavirus.

But there have been allegations of misconduct, including guards allegedly having sex with guests.

Some overseas travellers have also refused tests.

A testing swab is seen during community COVID-19 testing in Broadmeadows, Melbourne, Sunday, June 28, 2020.
A testing swab used at the COVID-19 testing clinic in Melbourne. Source: AAP Image/David Crosling

Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen revealed last week about 30 per cent of international travellers were refusing to be tested, despite multiple offers during their 14-day stay.

Two guards named Sam and George told Nine News security workers were given little training, would get into lifts with quarantined travellers before going into the wider community and weren’t encouraged to undergo COVID-19 testing themselves.

George said he was given five minutes’ worth of training.

Sam said security were given no training in infection control or personal protective equipment, and guards would have close contact with guests, but wouldn’t self-isolate.

“On their break, guards... were going to 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, KFC, everywhere and they were exposing everyone to that,” he told Nine News.

Sam, who worked at a hotel for two months, added he believed guards were “spreading” the virus.

When he found out there were positive cases confirmed at hotels, Sam said he asked if he should get tested but was told: “No don’t worry, don’t stress... because we need people, so if you go for a test they will ask you to self isolate, so don’t go.”

He added he knew a number of guards who were told to self-isolate, but went to take work elsewhere.

The Victorian government has launched a judicial inquiry into hotel quarantine after Melbourne's infection spike was linked to guards sharing cigarette lighters.

“This inquiry is comprehensive, it is wide-ranging, it focuses on actions of government, on hotels, on contractors, security, on food suppliers,” Police Minister Lisa Neville told reporters on Thursday.

“It will look at the decisions that have been made or look at the contracts that were in place, the training that was in place, communication arrangements that were in place.”

Ms Neville revealed the model of hotel quarantine had now changed with the Sheriff running the program while Corrections Victoria supervisors would be assigned to each hotel.

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