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Shocking images expose hotel quarantine mistakes that doomed Melbourne to horror second lockdown

Shocking COVID-19 hotel quarantine breaches have been exposed in photos showing guests walking freely to a convenience store from a Melbourne facility. 

The images taken outside the Pan Pacific Melbourne in the city’s South Wharf were sent to Victoria Police Commander Tim Tully and given to the inquiry into the state’s bungled hotel quarantine program on Tuesday.

Quarantined guests were pictured strolling out of the hotel unchecked next to a street sign fittingly named ‘Rona Walk’.

Commander Tully was sent one email by a former officer on April 15 reading: ‘We have got the quarantined people out again this morning. One has tried to enter a convenience store on-site.’

Stunning images have shown hotel quarantine guests who were ordered to isolate inside their rooms walking to a nearby convenience store

Stunning images have shown hotel quarantine guests who were ordered to isolate inside their rooms walking to a nearby convenience store

‘I happen [sic] to see one guest go down Rona Walk and stand in front of the Urban Hub [grocery store],’ a separate email read.

‘The guard went and spoke to him and he went back into the exclusion area.’ 

Another email said staff had seen someone outside with what appeared to be a takeaway coffee.

‘From my observations the exclusion zones are being poorly managed,’ the email read.

The pictures were forwarded to Assistant Commissioner Mick Grainger and then onto the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The inquiry on Tuesday also heard from an epidemiologist Dr Sarah McGuinness who said after the outbreaks at the Rydges and Stamford Plaza facilities she discovered staff at the latter were ‘not adequately educated in hand hygiene and PPE’.

She said she ‘saw a DHHS officer inside a security guard room handling paperwork … before returning to a room with nursing PCA and DHHS staff’, The Guardian reported.

Guests were pictured strolling out of the hotel unchecked next to a street sign fittingly named 'Rona Walk'

 Guests were pictured strolling out of the hotel unchecked next to a street sign fittingly named ‘Rona Walk’

One email given to the inquiry said staff had seen someone outside with what appeared to be a takeaway coffee

One email given to the inquiry said staff had seen someone outside with what appeared to be a takeaway coffee

She said what she observed could potentially lead to cross-contamination between different types of workers at hotels.

Victoria on Tuesday reported 55 new coronavirus cases and eight deaths as Premier Daniel Andrews was slammed over his ‘unrealistic’ target to end lockdown. 

Mr Andrews unveiled his long-awaited four-step roadmap on Sunday, revealing Melbourne will continue under strict curfew and lockdown until the end of September. 

Moving between the stages of the roadmap relies on new infections dropping to five or fewer in one major step, and no new cases for two weeks for the final phase. 

Pictured: The Pan Pacific hotel where guests were seen walking to a convenience store in the shocking images

Pictured: The Pan Pacific hotel where guests were seen walking to a convenience store in the shocking images

Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed the state’s plan and argued the same standards would put Sydney under curfew. 

‘The plan that was outlined yesterday, I hope, is a worst-case scenario,’ he said on Monday.

‘Under the thresholds that have been set in that plan, Sydney would be under curfew now.’

MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:

Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.

Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28. 

Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.

Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.

COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal. 

Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:

Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am

People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)

Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours

 Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’ 

Childcare and early educators to remain closed

Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions

 Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption

 Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry 

– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only

– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect

– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping 

Step two – September 28:

Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households

Childcare and early educators can re-open

Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4 

 There will be an increase to permitted workplaces

Step three – October 26:

Curfew is no longer in place

There are no restrictions on leaving home

Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors

 A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another 

Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class

– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite 

 Work from home is encouraged

– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor

– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed

– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment

– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked 

Step four – November 23:

Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors

 Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time

 All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place

– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue

– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants

Step five – COVID normal:

Public gatherings have no restriction

 There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes

– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers

  Schools to reopen as normal

– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records 

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