News Victoria’s new-look hotel quarantine unveiled

Victoria’s new-look hotel quarantine unveiled

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A dedicated agency will oversee Victoria’s new hotel quarantine program.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Police Minister Lisa Neville announced on Monday the establishment of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) to oversee all elements of the program, which restarts on December 7.

It will be led by Corrections Commissioner Emma Cassar, who will directly report to Ms Neville.

The program was suspended in June and an inquiry was called after workers at the Rydges on Swanston and Stamford Plaza hotels contracted COVID-19.

The outbreaks sparked Victoria’s second wave, which resulted in more than 18,000 infections and 800 deaths.

All staff working in the reset program will be employed or directly contracted by CQV with the exception of cleaning staff who are on fixed-term contracts with Alfred Health.

Victoria Police will be present at all hotels and will be supported by the Australian Defence Force.

All staff involved in the program will be tested daily and they will work in ‘bubbles’ to ensure they only have contact with a limited number of other people.

The premier says no private security guards will be involved in the program.

The hotel quarantine inquiry has made 69 interim recommendations to improve the program, including allowing some returned travellers to quarantine at home.

The government has accepted or accepted in principle 52 recommendations, with a further 17 recommendations under review.

The home quarantine model has been ruled out by national cabinet.

The inquiry, led by retired judge Jennifer Coate, will hand down its final report by December 21.