No individual to blame for hotel quarantine debacle says former health deputy

www.brisbanetimes.com.au
7 min read
fairly difficult
Victoria's hotel quarantine inquiry has also heard that at least one returned traveller left hotel quarantine in Melbourne while infected with COVID-19 and passed it on to the person who drove them home.
"Are you trying to blame others?" Mr Moses asked. "I'm not trying to blame anybody," she replied. "I don't believe that any one individual is responsible for what occurred." In earlier evidence, Dr van Diemen had agreed with her former boss, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton that the quarantine in Melbourne was run more as a logistics or compliance exercise, rather than a health program, though she had only come to that opinion in retrospect. About 99 per cent of Melbourne's devastating second wave of the virus escaped from two hotel quarantine sites in Melbourne's CBD. Sutton identified 'considerable risk' early in the program

Professor Sutton identified considerable risk to the health and safety of detainees in Victoria's hotel quarantine system just two weeks after it began, he has told an inquiry into the botched handling of the scheme. The revelation comes as Professor Sutton also confirmed that he had wanted to be the state controller of Victoria's response to the pandemic, and disagreed with the Health department's decision not to appoint him. The Stamford Plaza - the source of a major outbreak partly responsible for Victoria's second coronavirus wave. Credit:Getty Images The inquiry heard that an email sent by Public Health Commander Dr Finn Romanes revealed "a lack of a unified plan for this program," and that the people running the program were not "satisfied there is a policy and set processes to manage the healthcare and welfare of detainees, for whom this program is accountable." "There are now considerable complexity and considerable risk that unless governance and plans issues are addressed there will be a risk to the health and safety of detainees," wrote Dr Romanes, a former deputy chief health officer.

The email was addressed to state controller Andrea Spiteri and the deputy state controller. Professor Sutton and his deputy Annaliese van Diemen were copied into the email along with Health Department commanders Pam Williams and Merrin Bamert,…
Tammy Mills
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