Guests in Melbourne quarantined but speaks out about lack of safety procedures

A hotel employee carrying a disinfecting spray is seen in a hallway of Istanbul's historic Pera Palace Hotel on July 04, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. Picture: Chris McGrath/Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MELBOURNE, Jul 5, 2020, News.com.au. A quarantined traveller inside a Melbourne hotel has spoken up about the incompetency of its security guards, fearing infections will spread to her and others even after the problems with the failing system were exposed this week, News.com.au reported.

Freelance journalist Megan Clement took to Twitter to expose safety measures had “gotten worse” in the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn where she is staying, spotting guards and staff without gloves or masks on multiple occasions.

The Aussie traveller also claimed guards don’t know how to dispose of their PPE gear properly, saying one even asking for her assistance in doing so.

The allegations come as Victoria recorded 108 new cases yesterday, many of which were linked to hotel quarantine.

“It has been remarkable to watch the situation in here become less safe, not more,” Ms Clement said.

Ms Clement listed a number of concerns she’s witnessed during her 12-day stint in quarantine.

“Security guards without masks or gloves,” she said. “Holiday Inn staff without masks or gloves.

“Guards lacking training on how to dispose of PPE (at one point I was asked by an unmasked supervisor to put used PPE into a guard‘s hands rather than the dedicated infectious waste bin).

She said the number of guards monitoring each floor had been slashed “from four per floor to two”.

“Staff members (not guards) have told me they are moving between different quarantine hotels for shifts,” she wrote. “External guests are checking into the hotel and it is still bookable online.”
Ms Clement pointed out that things don’t seem to be improving, despite the Andrews Government last week announcing a judicial inquiry into the state’s hotel quarantine system.

“We are being assured of a reset but a guard came to my door without a mask to hand me a delivery LAST NIGHT,” she said on Twitter.

News.com.au has reached out to the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn for comment.

It’s not the first scandal to occur inside a Melbourne quarantine hotel; news.com.au has reported on quarantined guests and security staff sharing cigarette lighters, taking guests outside of the hotel for food and shopping, and even claims of sex while on duty.

Many of these incidents are believed to have caused coronavirus transmissions.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews admitted there had been a “handful” of breaches by staff at hotels including Stamford Plaza and Rydges on Swanston hotel, where some of the major outbreaks occurred.

His government’s inquiry will also investigate the practice of “ghosting” – a move where security companies have allegedly inflated the amount of guards listed on duty to charge the government and taxpayer more for their services.

One anonymous security worker told Nine News that he was given five minutes of training before beginning his first shift.

Ms Clement was also critical of guards’ treatment towards quarantined travellers.

“Meanwhile, we‘re banned from going outside and when a fire alarm of unknown cause went off for 10 minutes yesterday, quarantined people were told to stay in our rooms.”

She also claimed hotel quarantine was a breach of her basic human rights.

“Fresh air breaks have been cancelled since last weekend,” she said. “There are whole families with toddlers and babies in these rooms.

“The windows do not open. I am worried about the mental health consequences of this policy which contravenes the UN Mandela Rules.”

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