Topics: Hotel quarantine in Victoria; Local lockdowns in Victoria;
Minister Hunt, thank you for joining us. Let’s have a look at this Sydney case.
This man was in hotel quarantine in Victoria and tested positive, but was released, and has tested positive in the community in Sydney now. How could this happen?
Well, that’s exactly what I have referred to the medical expert panel.
Even though it’s come out of Victoria’s hotel quarantine system, which is itself the subject of judicial review, I’ve today asked the federal medical experts to approach Victoria and to seek an explanation as to how this could happen.
I think it’s very clear that that’s an unacceptable outcome.
Yeah. He wasn’t tested again before leaving quarantine. That just doesn’t make sense. Will that be a new policy, that before you leave quarantine, you’re tested?
Well, that has been put into places in terms of quarantine. It had been overwhelmingly the practice around the country.
There were specific cases in Victoria where that wasn’t occurring, and Victoria has now committed that that will be the practice for them.
This is an example of the basket of things which the Premier is seeking to address through the inquiry.
Were you as shocked as everybody else to hear from a whistle-blower this morning, a guard at one of the hotels, about the kind of things that have been going on there? Have the wheels fallen off?
Yes, I was shocked, and frankly, deeply disappointed and concerned.
Those allegations still have to be confirmed.
One of the advantages of having, whether it’s police or military, is that everybody stands up straighter. That’s an honest answer.
If they are there in some form, some presence, everybody stands up straighter, whether it’s private security guards, whether it’s others.
Will we see police and military doing those jobs in the future?
I think the importance is that there is some form of very clear presence from authorities.
And they don’t have to be doing all of the work, but if you have senior leadership, whether it’s police, whether it’s other authority figures, then that means that everybody’s on watch, everybody’s on notice, everybody’s on guard.
Yeah, obviously we don’t have the luxury of waiting for judicial reviews and recommendations, this virus moves too quickly.
Will we see proper authorities guarding hotels in the future? Immediately?
Around the country, that is overwhelmingly the case.
Victoria is moving to radically shake up their system.
Here, we’re seeing that the DNA fingerprint, as it were, of the disease across Melbourne’s north and western suburbs, traces back very much to breaches of the hotel quarantine.
And so unfortunately, so many people are now having to bear the consequence of that.
Okay. These postcode lockdowns, appreciate it’s a really difficult situation. Is it enforceable? Or are you relying on families to try and do the right thing?
Do you think the Federal Government needs to step in there?
No, I think what Victoria has done is the right thing.
And I know it is very hard. 10 postcodes, 36 suburbs, over 300,000 people, but there are really three alternatives – do nothing, put the whole state into lockdown, or have a local lockdown.
And the National Cabinet agreed on for the local process for rapid testing, large-scale- rapid response, in terms of tracing, large-scale, and where necessary local lockdowns.
It worked in north-west Tasmania, it’s now being applied in Victoria, so I do support what Victoria has done in response to this outbreak.
And this disease is accelerating around the world, we still have to be vigilant in Australia. We’ll have to be vigilant for at least the next year.
Okay Minister. Thank you.