After new Covid19 outbreak, Australia probes allegations that quarantine hotel staff had sex with guests
- Officials in Victoria, Australia, are investigating possible protocol breaches tied to hotels hosting quarantined travelers after cases were linked to the hotels, CNN reported.
- According to The New York Times, a new coronavirus outbreak in Victoria prompted new restrictive measures.
- Victoria recorded 77 new cases on Thursday, the highest since March.
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The government in Victoria, Australia, will launch an investigation into the spread of coronavirus in a hotel that was hosting quarantined travelers after allegations that employees did not follow protocols and allegedly even had sex with some guests under lockdown, CNN reported.
According to a press release from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews site, genomic sequencing linked a number of coronavirus cases to the hotel quarantine programme, and one of Victoria's "most experienced and respected judicial officers" was brought in to investigate.
The hotel quarantine programme places returning travelers in isolation for 14 days in a hotel to monitor for the coronavirus.
While the statement did not specify what misconduct took place, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported possible sexual relations between employees and guests who were isolating. The outlet also claimed that families were allowed to go between rooms.
Australian broadcaster 9 News' "Today" show reported that one security guard who was on contract got only five minutes of training before starting.
"There are two cases where it appears that there have been clear breaches with significant ramifications," Australia's Minister for Health Greg Hunt said according to CNN, but he did not confirm the allegations.
At least 31 cases were linked to the Melbourne's Stamford Plaza Hotel, ABC reported. Additionally, two other hotels had infections linked to them.
"It is abundantly clear that what has gone on here is completely unacceptable and we need to know exactly what has happened," Andrews said in the statement.
The statement said for the next two weeks, as the programme is reset, no new international returned travelers will arrive in Melbourne.
In a transcript of an interview posted on Australia's Department of Health, Hunt said that if the statements are true "that would be completely and utterly unacceptable."
He added: "And we would encourage the Victorian authorities to throw the book at them if any of these individuals or the firms have behaved inappropriately. Right now there will be a judicial inquiry, and we welcome that, we endorse that."
According to The New York Times, a new coronavirus outbreak in Victoria prompted new restrictive measures, with 77 new cases Thursday, the highest since March. According to the Times, 300,000 people are now back under lockdown and the reopening of state borders is postponed.
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