Covid-19 in Australia: most infected health workers in Victoria’s second wave acquired virus at work

Australia’s 14 day mandatory quarantine rules for overseas travelers are cited as a major reason for the country’s initial success in containing the virus, but unlike other states and territories, Victoria decided to contract private security firms to police them.10 The quarantine inquiry was told that, as a condition of the government’s contracts with the security firms, guards underwent just 30 minutes of online infection control training. There have also been lurid stories in the local media of security staff having sex with the quarantined travelers and claims that guards escorted some travelers on shopping trips despite the infection risks. But it has also been said that security staff were given insufficient supplies of PPE, which was often worn wrongly or for too long, and that there was a lack of medical waste bins in the hotels and insufficient medical oversight.11 As a result, security workers acquired infections from travelers who took it back to family members and other contacts in the community.

Covid-19 in Australia: most infected health workers in Victoria’s second wave acquired virus at work — BMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3350 (Published 27 August 2020) — Citation: BMJ 2020;370:m3350

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