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Monday, March 4, 2024

Inquiry to investigate quarantine leaks

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews says he’s disappointed that a number of COVID-19 cases in the State have been linked to an infection control breach in the Victorian Government’s hotel quarantine program.

“Clearly there has been a failure in the operation of this program,” the Premier said.

“The whole way through this, I’ve been upfront with the people of Victoria. And to say I’m disappointed about what’s happened would be an understatement,” he said.

“I have today ordered the establishment of an inquiry, led by a former judge, into the operation of the hotel quarantine program.”

The Premier said he had also asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to divert flights to other cities for the next two weeks as Victoria works to “reset” the program under the supervision of Corrections Victoria.

“The inquiry will report in eight to ten weeks,” Premier Andrews said.

“I want to assure Victorians – no stone will be left unturned. No lead will be left neglected,” he said.

“But while that is happening, we need to focus on the health situation in hand.”

He announced a return to COVID-19 restrictions and issued a ‘Stay at home’ notice to those living in COVID-19 hotspots.

“From 11:59pm tomorrow night, postcodes linked to these outbreaks will go into local lockdown. For now, that includes the following: 3038, 3064, 3047, 3060, 3012, 3032, 3055, 3042, 3021, 3046,” the Premier said.

“These “hot zones” will be required to return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions – until at least 29 July. If you live in these locations, there will again only be four reasons to be out: shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study or work – if you can’t do it from home.”

“Wherever you can, you should do these things as close to home as you can. But if you do need to leave your postcode, those same restrictions – those same four reasons – travel with you.”

He said businesses and facilities in the affected areas that had been able to recently reopen – from beauty parlours to gyms to libraries to swimming pools – would again be restricted and cafes and restaurants would again only be allowed to open for take-away and delivery.

“And regular police patrols, both in these zones and outside them, will make sure people are abiding by the restrictions,” Mr Andrews said.

“We know this will have a very real impact on local businesses trading in these communities. We’ll help them get through this with an initial $5000 in dedicated support for businesses previously eligible for a Business Support Fund grant or a payroll tax refund.”

“For those parents who’ll no doubt be asking, and based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, we expect that schools will return as planned from 13 July.

“And for those families who live in these locations but have already left for their holidays – you can continue as you’d planned. But when you come home, these restrictions will apply.”

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