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All To Know About The Sex Scandal That Resulted In The New Wave Of Coronavirus Cases

Security guards employed to monitor returned travellers inside quarantine hotels in Victoria were sleeping with locked-down guests in the lead up to the state's second COVID-19 outbreak, it has been claimed.
Victoria is experiencing an alarming spike in coronavirus cases and 36 suburbs across ten postcodes were thrust into lockdown again overnight to stem the spread.

The state recorded 73 new cases on Wednesday, 20 of which have no identified source, the highest daily number of community transmissions since the beginning of the crisis.

There have now been 301 cases of community transmission in the state.

Premier Daniel Andrews acknowledged there were a 'handful' of breaches among staff at the hotels which may have contributed to the outbreaks and has launched an inquiry into the matter.

Claims that security staff were sexually active with some of the guests, including those in isolation in the hotels will form part of the investigation.

The allegations have been heard among police and government circles, as well as within the hotel industry, the Herald Sun reported.

Other allegations which will be investigated include security firms engaging in 'ghosting' - a practice which involves inflating the amount of guards listed on duty to charge the government and taxpayer more for their services.

Operators charged the government for a certain number of staff even though there were less working, even giving fake names for the non-existent employees, the paper reported.

The allegations which will be investigated include:

  • Hotel staff sleeping with guests  
  • Guards shaking hands with each other and sharing lifts
  • Quarantined families visiting other guests within the hotel to play card games with each other
  • Limited training being offered to security guards prior to shifts
  • Security wearing personal protective equipment for extended periods of time without changing it
  • A hotel source insisted the Andrews Government was made aware of the allegations.

Since March 29, some 20,000 returned overseas travellers have spent a fortnight quarantined in hotel rooms in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Authorities first realised coronavirus was spreading via staff at the hotels after conducting genomic testing - which tracks the markings of different strains of the virus - revealed there were commonalities among multiple hotel contacts.

Health officials believe the virus was likely contracted at the hotel quarantine locations and then spread among security guards' friends and family.

Mr Andrews said DNA tests showed a number of cases could be linked to 'staff members in hotel quarantine breaching well-known and well-understood infection control protocols'.

Officials said the breaches were linked to a significant number of cases in late May and early June.

There are also concerns that some staff regularly worked shifts at different hotels, as well as private work outside of the quarantine hotel contract.

'That left me in no doubt that if not right now, but certainly back weeks and weeks ago, there was a significant ­infection control ­problem,' Mr Andrews said.

'That is unacceptable to me. I'm sure that will be unacceptable certainly to all of those who will be impacted by the restrictions that we have had to reimpose.'

The genomic testing report will not be released to the public as it contains sensitive health details about the people involved.

So far, the verified breaches of infection control among staff at the hotels include car pooling to and from work, sharing cigarettes and lighters, hugging and handshakes.

Mr Andrews previously said he believed staff sharing a cigarette lighter had contributed to the widespread outbreak.

On Sunday, the premier said staff at the hotel had followed correct protocols relating to social distancing, but had unwittingly spread the virus after sharing a lighter.

'[They were] keeping their distance but sharing a lighter between each other,' he said.

'An innocent thing that can lead to transmitting the virus.'

The three security companies which oversaw the hotel quarantine process were all private firms.

The trio were handed the contracts without a ­formal tender process because the government was desperate to rush the decision through national cabinet.

The decision was in contrast to New South Wales' process, which engaged police to man hotels, while Queensland used a combination of health staff, defence force personnel and police.

The hotel program will restart under the supervision of Corrections Victoria.

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