Australia Infected hotel quarantine guard 'should have had access to PPE'
Coronavirus lockdown prompts questions over how hotel quarantine system failed
An investigation is underway to find the weak link in WA's hotel quarantine system after a security guard tested positive to COVID-19, plunging most of the State's population into a five day lockdown.After nearly 10 months with no community cases, a security guard in his twenties contracted COVID-19 after working at Sheraton Four Points in Perth, throwing the majority of the state's population into a five-day lockdown.
Western Australia's top doctor has called for hotel quarantine staff to have access to hospital grade personal protective equipment, saying this could have prevented Perth from going into emergency lockdown.
Australian Medical Association President Andrew Miller commended how the security guard at the centre of the lockdown has handled himself, but believes he wouldn't have caught the infectious UKstrain if he had better protection.
"Staff in these hotels should have had hospital grade PPE to begin with - to stop the infection from spreading out of quarantine," he said.
While wearing protective masks is now compulsory for staff in WA hotel quarantine facilities, the infected security guard was not required to wear a mask while working at the time he was infected.
Claims hotel quarantine security guards in WA are foreign students
An insider has blasted Western Australia's hotel quarantine system and accused security companies of hiring and exploiting foreign students. The source claimed guards were paid minimum wage in cash and off the books so they could work double the 20 hours allowed under their visa arrangements. It was also alleged that hotel security guards were sharing IDs so they could get away with working a second job such as driving for Uber. The insider told The West the security services in the state were run by a 'bunch of cowboys'.
The revelation comes as authorities backtrack on claims the guard delivered medication to an infected quarantine guest.
How did the guard contract the virus?
New details of the security guard's movements emerged today as Western Australia recorded no newcases on the third day of lockdown.
Authorities are racing to find how the security guard contracted the virus despite having no immediate contact with overseas travellers.
It's believed the security guard either touched a surface contaminated with the virus, or was subject to airflow from the infected room despite being more than 1.5 metres away.
"The learning so far is that it is not something that is transmitted, it is not a pathogen that can be transmitted by the air-conditioning, for example," Paul Armstrong, WA's director of Communicable Disease Control, said.
Travellers at Perth hotel at centre of WA coronavirus lockdown 'shocked' by poor communication and PPE use
Returned travellers who have had their quarantine period at a Perth hotel extended raise concerns over security guards not wearing masks and say they have been kept in the dark about changes to their stay.An unknown number were due to leave the hotel yesterday after undergoing 14 days of quarantine but — only a short time before they were due to leave — they learned the plan had changed when they saw a press conference broadcast live on television.
"It's about airflow and ventilation in the hallways and it may have been the case that the airflow situation of that particular floor, wherever the person was sitting, at several times that the door was opened that something happened there, a chance event with that person became infected.
"That is our working hypothesis."
All hotel security guards must now wear masks at all times when on duty.
Video: Investigation underway amid potential spread of UK strain in Melbourne hotel quarantine (Sky News Australia)
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said at the time, the security guard was not required to wear a mask, consistent with public health advice.
Investigation launched into into Melbourne quarantine hotel spread
An urgent investigation has been launched into the likely transmission of the UK coronavirus variant between residents at the Park Royal Hotel in Melbourne. The potential transmission took place is between January 20 and January 28 and involves a family of five and a woman on the same floor within the quarantine hotel."The viral load of the room of the family of five was so high that just opening the door to pick up food saw the virus travel into the corridor," head of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria Lisa Neville Neville said.
His role was to monitor the floor of the hotel to ensure people did not leave their rooms.
He did not visit rooms to deliver medication or other items, as was previously reported.
Unlikely security guard will be criminally charged
WA Premier Mark McGowan said a police investigation into the circumstances surrounding how the security guard at a quarantine hotel became infected with the UK strain of the virus continues, but it is unlikely he will be charged with a criminal offence.
"What we can establish is that the guard that we're speaking to remains very cooperative. He is assisting in the questions that are being put to him and there's nothing that he has said that we've been unable to corroborate, nor is there any criminal offences being identified," Mr McGowan said.
"What we do know is that he was deployed in that hotel as a static guard, seated in a corridor, outside an area close to a room - which we know, through the serology and genomic testing, that the occupant of that room has the same UK variant strain."
Mr McGowan promised WA residents that the state's lockdown will end if zero cases are recorded tomorrow and again on Friday.
Australian Open in chaos after hotel worker caught Covid-19
A testing blitz is now underway with 600 tennis stars, officials and support staff identified as close contacts of the 26-year-old, who worked at the Grand Hyatt hotel. The worker is expected to have contracted the ultra-infectious UK mutant strain, and has a 'high viral load' - meaning any close contact may have received a high enough dose to become infected.More infectious than other variants of Covid-19, it has already spread from one hotel room to another at another Melbourne quarantine facility - with officials fearing even doors opening at the same time could let the mutant in.
He commended the high number of people who have come forward for testing.
Residents underwent 12,326 tests yesterday, slightly down from Monday's 16,490 tests.
"That is a very good number of tests but we want to keep the number of tests at a high level," Mr McGowan said.
"That means even recently if you've received a negative result, if you begin to feel unwell or experience any symptoms, go get tested again."
Lockdown to continue
Despite the promising numbers, Mr McGowan said even if the lockdown does come down on Friday, it does not mean the state is in the clear.
"Our Chief Health Officer has advised that, in total, 189 close contacts have now been identified - 138 of these have returned negative results," Mr McGowan said.
"In addition, 234 casual contacts have also been identified - 116 of these have returned negative results."
Mr McGowan also lashed those who spread rumours that the state had low stock levels of personal protective equipment (PPE), calling for "misinformation" to stop.
"There is a lot of misinformation being thrown around about how we have low stocks of PPE. This is completely untrue. Throughout this pandemic, we had prepared and have all necessary PPE in stock," he said.
"Misinformation and the fear-mongering being peddled by some people needs to stop."
Holiday Inn returned travellers wearing bin liners as PPE .
Adding to the chaos of the Holiday Inn outbreak, residents have arrived at a new quarantine hotel wearing bin liners as makeshift PPE.9News video showed people at The Pullman hotel fashioning purple bin liners to cover themselves, as they moved to another hotel to isolate today.