Key points in hotel inquiry interim report

Benita Kolovos
·3-min read

KEY POINTS IN THE HOTEL QUARANTINE INQUIRY'S INTERIM REPORT

* Tabled in parliament on Friday, 84 pages with 69 recommendations

* Full report due on December 21

THE INQUIRY PROPOSES TWO MODELS OF QUARANTINE:

* Returned overseas travellers to Victoria may be quarantined at a facility or at home for 14 days.

* The Victorian government must work with Commonwealth agencies and officials to ensure information on returned travellers is available before they arrive to facilitate an "informed suitability assessment for appropriate placement".

* All returned travellers will be tested for COVID-19 regardless of symptoms.

* The numbers of returned travellers must be controlled.

FACILITY-BASED MODEL:

* Hotels continue to be used to quarantine travellers, but must be near hospitals, modified to minimise the risk of transmission and to allow for social distancing. Hotels must also provide safe access to outside areas for fresh air and exercise breaks.

* Police presence 24/7 at facilities.

* Each facility must have both an infection prevention and control unit and a contact tracing unit.

* Staff will not be allowed to work across multiple quarantine sites or in other forms of employment.

* Effort should be made to make all personnel working at quarantine facilities "salaried employees with terms and conditions that address the possible need to self-isolate in the event of an infection or possible infection, or close contact exposure, together with all necessary supports, including the need to relocate if necessary and have a managed return to work".

* Any decision to cohort known positive cases at a facility should only occur after proper consultation with experts.

* Daily health and welfare checks must be embedded into the operation of each quarantine facility. Additional support for those particularly vulnerable.

* Staff to use language such as "resident" rather than "detainee" to "reflect that quarantine is a health measure and not a punitive measure".

HOME-BASED MODEL:

* Government to assess individuals for their suitability for home quarantine.

* Those quarantining at home must commit to regular COVID-19 testing and will face penalties for non-compliance.

* The Victorian government could consider the use of electronic monitoring using smartphone technology and the use of ankle or wrist monitoring systems.

ACCOUNTABILITY:

* Clear line of command would vest ultimate responsibility in an approved department and government minister.

* The responsible minister must ensure the departmental structure for the operation of the program has clearly defined roles that have the necessary expertise and advice embedded at appropriate levels of seniority, forming a governance body (the Quarantine Governing Body).

* The responsible minister must ensure the Quarantine Governing Body provides regular, timely and accurate reports to the minister on the operation of the program, across all sites.

* The Quarantine Governing Body must ensure each facility has a site manager responsible for the overall operation, who is accountable to them. The site manager must be someone with experience in the management of complex healthcare facilities.

* The Quarantine Governing Body must ensure each quarantine facility site has regular, independent safety audits.

Source: COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry Interim Report and Recommendations, tabled in parliament on November 6, 2020.