Security guards labelled by Victoria's Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton as the 'wrong cohort' for the state's bungled hotel quarantine scheme refused to sanitise their hands over religious beliefs.
As the public inquiry into Victoria's disastrous COVID-19 hotel quarantine efforts approaches its conclusion, it was revealed Dr Sutton was oblivious as to who was actually guarding infected travellers within the designated Melbourne hotels.
In an email sent by Dr Sutton to Federal Chief Health Officer Brendan Murphy on June 22, Dr Sutton expressed his concern about the private security firms, which by then had been linked to an outbreak.
Security guards working at Victoria's hotel quarantine had refused to use hand sanitiser over religious beliefs
Professor Brett Sutton at the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry on Wednesday
An email sent by Dr Brett Sutton revealing his concerns upon learning that private security guards had led to an outbreak of COVID-19
'We've got good training and IPC supervision but the workforce is the wrong cohort,' Mr Sutton stated.
Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID infections, the inquiry has heard.
Dr Sutton faced the inquiry via videolink in Melbourne on Wednesday where he outlined his concerns with the private security guards employed to contain the virus.
In a day of drama, documents tendered to the inquiry revealed some of the security guards had expressed concerns about something as simple as using hand sanitiser.
The issue was noted on June 20, just days before Dr Sutton expressed his concerns to Dr Murphy.
'Security guards informed YNA RN they were concerned about using hand sanitiser because it is against their religion,' it was noted.
'This followed previous feedback from nurses to DHHS Team Leaders the Security Guard Supervisor was not following correct infection control practice.'
Dr Sutton told the inquiry he had no input into the hotel quarantine program despite being an expert in the field of infectious diseases.
'With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that using a highly casualised workforce, generally from a lower socio-economic background, where that means that poor leave provisions limit how one can care for and financially support one’s family if unwell,' Dr Sutton wrote in his submission to the inquiry.
Last week the inquiry was shown shocking photos of quarantine guests walking freely to a convenience store from a Melbourne facility
Premier Daniel Andrews continue to claim he was not offered assistance from the ADF with his bungled hotel quarantine scheme
Federal Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy offers Victoria ADF assistance again in June
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