There is “no single cause” of Victoria’s second COVID-19 wave, an inquiry into the state’s hotel quarantine scheme has been told.
There is “no single cause” of Victoria’s second COVID-19 wave, an inquiry into the state’s hotel quarantine scheme has been told.

Hotel quarantine inquiry: No ‘single cause’ of second wave

There is "no single cause" of Victoria's second COVID-19 wave, an inquiry into the state's hotel quarantine scheme has been told.

Deputy chief health officer Annaliese van Diemen says the hotel quarantine program was delivered with "extreme haste", leading to concerns the services provided were being "fragmented".

Ms van Diemen did not have oversight of the operation aspects of the program.

However, she told the hotel quarantine inquiry on Wednesday there was not one single thing to blame for the second wave of the virus, which was sparked by outbreaks from quarantine hotels.

"I am certain there is no single cause of the current second wave, and that there were hundreds of micro-decisions and actions that resulted in the second wave, none of which would have individually been enough to cause the end result," Ms van Diemen said.

 

Rydges on Swanston in Melbourne, one of the quarantine hotels linked to Victoria’s second wave. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
Rydges on Swanston in Melbourne, one of the quarantine hotels linked to Victoria’s second wave. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

The inquiry has been told Victoria had 36 hours to create the program after the Prime Minister announced the mandatory 14-day program for returned travellers on March 27.

Victoria's chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said on Wednesday he was unaware private security contractors were supervising hotel quarantine and did not find out about it "until after the outbreaks".

He and Ms van Diemen expressed concern about the program in April, leading deputy public health commander Dr Finn Romanes to send an email on their behalf to the state controller running the pandemic response.

The email, shown to the inquiry, demanded an "urgent review governance" of the quarantine program, given the apparent "lack of a unified plan".

The inquiry resumes on Thursday with testimony from senior Department of Health and Human Services bureaucrats Andrea Spiteri and Jason Helps, Chief Commissioner Shane Patton and former chief commissioner Graham Ashton.

Originally published as No 'single cause' of second wave


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