Timeline of Vic hotel quarantine program

Benita Kolovos
·3-min read

A TIMELINE OF VICTORIA'S BUNGLED HOTEL QUARANTINE PROGRAM

* March 27 - National cabinet announces returned overseas travellers must complete 14 days of hotel quarantine. Victoria decides to use private security guards in the program.

* April 8 - Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Philip Gaetjens emails Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Chris Eccles to offer ADF assistance. Email is not passed onto Premier Daniel Andrews.

* April 9 - Public Health Commander Finn Romanes writes to the Department of Health and Human Services secretary warning of a "risk to the health and safety of detainees". Letter backed by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and his deputy.

* May 15 - A family of four with COVID-19 are moved to the Rydges on Swanston hotel.

* May 25 - A staff member at the Rydges on Swanston tests positive to COVID-19. Two others develop symptoms.

* May 27 - Rydges on Swanston outbreak first identified by the DHHS. It will grow to 17 people who have either worked at the hotel, or are household members or social contacts.

* June 1 - Stage three restrictions eased.

* June 14 - Staff member at Stamford Plaza tests positive to COVID-19.

* June 17 - Stamford Plaza outbreak identified by DHHS. It will grow to 46 people.

* June 21 - Further easing of restrictions.

* June 24 - Mr Crisp requests 850 ADF personnel to replace private security at hotels. Request rescinded a day later as the Department of Justice and Community Safety takes over the program.

* June 26 - It's revealed 30 per cent of quarantined travellers are refusing tests.

* June 29 - Hotspot Melbourne suburbs return to lockdown.

* June 30 - Premier announces inquiry after genomic sequencing revealed a number of COVID-19 cases can be linked to "staff members in hotel quarantine breaching well-known and well-understood infection control protocols". International flights diverted from Melbourne.

* July 4 - Hard lockdown announced at short notice for nine public housing towers. State records 108 new cases - first day above 100 since late March.

* July 4, July 6, July 11 - Prime Minister Scott Morrison writes to Mr Andrews three times offering ADF support.

* July 6 - The Victoria-NSW border shuts for first time in a century.

* July 8 - Melbourne and Mitchell Shire go into stage three lockdown.

* July 20 - Hotel quarantine inquiry begins.

* August 2 - Victoria records 671 cases and seven deaths. State of disaster declared, stage four restrictions imposed.

* August 5 - Stage four restrictions delay inquiry's public hearings. State records 725 new cases and 15 deaths.

* August 11 - Mr Andrews tells a parliamentary inquiry ADF support was not offered for hotel quarantine, sparking war of words with Defence Minister Linda Reynolds.

* August 17 - Public hearings at inquiry begin.

* August 18 - DHHS epidemiologist Charles Alpren tells inquiry 99 per cent of active cases in Victoria stem from Rydges and Stamford outbreaks.

* September 6 - Stage four restrictions extended until October.

* September 25 - Mr Andrews appears before the inquiry, apologises to Victorians.

* September 26 - Health Minister Jenny Mikakos resigns.

* October 12 - Mr Eccles resigns.

* September 28 - Inquiry's closing submissions. Lawyers say the program is responsible for more than 18,000 COVID-19 infections and 750 deaths.

* October 20 - An extraordinary hearing of the inquiry called. Mr Andrews and Prof Sutton among those asked to provide new statements after it receives more emails and phone records.

* October 29 - Inquiry's final report date pushed back six weeks to December 21 due to new evidence.

* November 6 - Inquiry's interim report released. It recommends Victoria operate a hotel quarantine program and an at-home program for returned travellers. It also reveals the program has cost the state $195 million. Victoria goes a week without any coronavirus deaths or new cases.