All of Victorias active coronavirus cases could stem from the states botched hotel quarantine program.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said it was “conceivable” all 1612 active COVID-19 cases in the state were linked to the program.
“Its genomically linked to the (hotel) quarantine cases, but not all of the viruses that are out there at the moment are sampled, not all of them can be grown in order to get the genomic sequencing,” he told ABC Melbournes Drive program on the evening of July 13.
When asked if most cases could stem from one hotel, Sutton said “thats conceivable absolutely”.
He said he used “pretty colourful language” when the genomic link was first made between hotel quarantine and outbreaks in the citys inner north and west.
“They were actually doing a fantastic job managing all of the logistic complexities of it. But it speaks to the dangers of any positive case out there and the ability for it to spread very extensively as has occurred.”
Premier Daniel Andrews announced an inquiry into the states quarantine scheme, to be led by former judge Jennifer Coate, after protocol breaches by guards at the Rydges on Swanston and Stamford Plaza hotels were identified as the source of coronavirus outbreaks.
According to The Age, a senior bureaucrat raised concerns about the program within 24 hours of its launch on March 28.
“We request that Victoria Police is present 24/7 at each hotel starting from this evening. We ask that DHHS urgently make that request as the control agency,” the email read.
In other states, police rather than security manage the quarantine of returned overseas travellers.