New details have emerged about patient zero in Victoria’s tragic second wave of coronavirus cases.
After suggestions new cases began accumulating after a security guard broke rules in a hotel where overseas travellers were quarantining, leaked emails suggest patient zero was a night duty manager at Rydges on Swanston Street.
One of the emails revealed the night manager reported a fever on May 25 and tested positive for coronavirus the following day, according to The Age.
The bombshell emails also suggest an email chain had mistakenly identified a security guard as the first positive test, but was later corrected.
How the night duty manager became infected remains unknown and there is no suggestion it was a result of any rule-breaking, The Age reported.
However, it is likely the employee did contract the virus from a returning traveller.
The emails reveal following the positive test, seven contracted security guards were stood down and instructed to get tested and self-isolate, along with a small number of health workers and hotel employees.
Despite the night duty manager isolating at the hotel a day after reporting the fever, five of the seven security guards had already contracted the virus, spreading it to those they had been in contact with and helping spark the second wave of cases.
Accusations hotel security guards slept with guests
Last month Health minister Greg Hunt urged authorities to throw the book at hotel quarantine rule-breakers after allegations security guards slept with guests.
Claims of widespread rorting and misconduct have rocked the security firms responsible for patrolling Melbourne’s hotel quarantine regime.
Companies charged taxpayers for shifts never worked, leading to less security workers on duty and higher risk of infections, The Herald Sun reported in July.
The publication also revealed sources informed them guards slept with guests while personnel had inadequate personal protective equipment and training.
"If those claims are correct then that is completely and utterly unacceptable," Mr Hunt told Sky News on July 2.
The Victorian government has launched a judicial inquiry into hotel quarantine after Melbourne's infection spike was linked to guards sharing cigarette lighters.
On Thursday, Victoria reported its lowest number of coronavirus cases in 24 days, confirming 278 new daily cases and eight deaths for the previous 24-hour period.
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