Flat White

Daniel Andrews’ corona incompetents: name them

13 February 2021

1:15 PM

13 February 2021

1:15 PM

The Nine newspapers today contain an interview with the supposed “patient zero” of the latest Victorian quarantine disaster that my have dispersed the “hyper-infectious” UK strain of coronavirus not just around the state, but the nation.

It raises — yet again — questions of both the integrity and competence of Victorian authorities from Premier Daniel Andrews down.

Firstly, we need to unpack the story:

A returned traveller blamed for spreading coronavirus through the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel by using a nebuliser says he was twice given permission from Victorian health authorities to use the medical device while in quarantine.

Speaking to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald from his bed in a Melbourne intensive care ward, the 38-year-old Victorian man said he declared his nebuliser to hotel quarantine staff, who also offered to source more Ventolin, the medication administered by the machine.

The asthmatic … had not tested positive to coronavirus when he used the nebuliser at the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport.

“If I was told that I couldn’t use it, I never would have used it,” he said. “The way it has all come out in the news and through the government has made it sound like I was using it illegally or that I have snuck it in or something like that. It’s been very distressing.”

The same article quotes Daniel Andrews as saying:

Those machines are not allowed, that was clearly communicated … You’re not allowed to have them, you shouldn’t be using them, there’s an interview where that is clearly communicated.

There’s more from “patient zero”:

The man, who frequently had to pause during the interview when he became breathless, said he used the nebuliser on day five and six of his quarantine inside his hotel room after returning a negative test on day three.

He said he first began to show signs of respiratory illness an hour after arriving at the Holiday Inn and blamed a faulty evaporative airconditioning system that continually fluctuated in temperature for aggravating his asthma.

“What was more disturbing is we found hairs on the floor and some crumbs on the couch and table that had not been cleaned up,” he said. “The room did not feel like it had been deep cleaned after the last person stayed there. It was really dirty in general …”

The man said his respiratory symptoms worsened each day, and he requested another test on day six of quarantine, but this request was refused. The entire family tested positive to the virus on their 11th day in quarantine.

“The biggest surprise of the whole thing is when the news is saying ‘you should have known’, but these people should have told me,” he said.

“It is not my responsibility to know that. It’s their responsibility because I am in their care health-wise, and they should have understood that they have to tell me something like that.”

The returned traveller, who had been living in Europe, said the family all tested negative for the virus before boarding their first flight into Australia and wore N95 respirators on the numerous connecting flights to Melbourne.

“We flew business class to protect our daughter, and we were the only people in the cabin,” he said. “We did everything we could to reduce the risk.”

The individual, while understandably distressed and emotional, sounds credible. His story is rich in detail. Compare his remarks to the bureaucratic boilerplate provided by a spokesthing for COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria:

This audit shows the use of the nebuliser only emerged during a formal case interview on Friday, February 5, once the man had tested positive and been moved to the health hotel,” she said. “Each resident undergoes an initial health screening at the airport prior to entering quarantine and a more comprehensive review within 12 hours of arrival and the records do not mention the nebuliser.

Our healthcare providers have audited medical records and provided assurances about their contents, while we have reviewed CCTV of any staff interactions.

Let’s go right back to the top:

A returned traveller blamed for spreading coronavirus through the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel by using a nebuliser says he was twice given permission from Victorian health authorities to use the medical device while in quarantine.

Speaking to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald from his bed in a Melbourne intensive care ward, the 38-year-old Victorian man said he declared his nebuliser to hotel quarantine staff, who also offered to source more Ventolin, the medication administered by the machine.

So, these “Victorian health authorities” and “hotel quarantine staff”. Who were they?


Have the Nine newspapers asked the COVID-19 Quarantine? The Minister? The Department? The Premier?

Have they lodged Freedom of Information requests for rosters that they could then check with “patient zero”?

After the farce of the Coates Inquiry, the public has the right to know names. There is a clear public interest.

Victorian incompetence now threatens more than just Victoria. The nation has a right to know who’s responsible.

Daniel Andrews has skated once before. He can’t be allowed to skate again.

We need names, The media must demand names. Even the either incompetent or stupidly shrill Victorian Liberals must be able to work out a line of attack here too.

As we are talking about one individual and his carers, it’s very different to the Hotel Quarantine Fiasco Mk I.

We have a clear-cut opportunity to start and the bottom and work up and — finally — force some accountability on the Andrews (mal)administration.

2:30 Post press conference update

The Herald-Sun reports:

The Premier was reluctant to comment on claims made by the man at the centre of the Holiday Inn outbreak that staff permitted him to use his nebuliser…

Daniel Andrews was repeatedly questioned on the dispute between authorities and the patient in their care, but insisted journalists speak to Emma Cassar, the head of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria.

“Ultimately, it is my understanding, the advice I have is that machines have been taken from people, that is the normal process,” he said.

“If somebody speaks to the fact they have one of these machines, they don’t use these machines. I can only give you the advice I’ve been given.

“You need to speak to the head of the agency.”

More fudge than a wholesale bakery. This guy is as straight as an s-bend.

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