Leaders offer assurances for hotel 'reset'
Victoria's hotel quarantine program has been improved in every possible way and is ready for international arrivals to resume, authorities have promised.
"We've left no stone unturned," Corrections Victoria Commissioner Emma Cassar said at her first media appearance on Friday.
Corrections Victoria took over the running of the scheme in late June.
An inquiry into the program has heard it was responsible for the state's second wave of COVID-19, which has killed more than 750 people.
Changes have since been made while the program has continued running for frontline workers and others having to isolate from family.
The inquiry will hand down its findings by November 6.
Corrections staff now receive face-to-face infection control training, and processes for cleaning, waste, transport and food standards have been reviewed.
Travellers to Melbourne airport will be medically assessed as soon as they disembark and transferred directly to a hotel if symptomatic, Ms Cassar said.
"We are really confident in the reset and when flights arrive we will certainly be ready," she said.
Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said the hotel program now had "strong and accountable leadership" who were "making sure that we have got proper oversight, audit and proper checks and balances".
"We want Victorians to feel very, very assured the accommodation program is a very, very focused one," she said.
There are 107 people currently in hotel quarantine, of whom 55 are frontline workers.
Flights into Melbourne are not expected to resume until after the hotel quarantine inquiry delivers its findings. A small number of flights are still operating for those granted special exemptions.
Ms Cassar and Ms Hennessy joined Premier Daniel Andrews and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton in front of the media after authorities confirmed two workers in the revised hotel program were on duty while infectious.
Staff from Spotless were replaced by police mid-shift on Wednesday at the Novotel in Southbank, after a healthcare worker told The Age she feared their practices would lead to further COVID-19 outbreaks.
The workers are among nine who have tested positive since the program was overhauled, but were asymptomatic at the time.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said they all contracted the virus at the height of the second wave, most likely because of community transmission.
None were responsible for breaches and none had caused further transmission, he said.
Ms Hennessy said on Friday there had not been any active cases related to the workforce running hotel quarantine for at least four weeks.
Meanwhile, Victoria has recorded another two coronavirus deaths, taking the state toll to 802 and the national figure to 890.
There are seven new cases in the state, as Melbourne's 14-day average drops to 12.8 and the regional figure to 0.2.
From September 16-29 there were 14 cases with an unknown source in Melbourne and none in regional areas.
A cluster of 11 cases at a butcher in Melbourne's popular Chadstone shopping centre has prompted the premier to highlight why it is unsafe to ease restrictions.
"If we were to open up now, just as our modelling tells us, just as our experts confirm for it, one of it or even a handful of these events won't be a handful of cases. It will be many hundreds of cases," Mr Andrews said.
A journalist pressed Prof Sutton to explain why the butcher was still open on Wednesday when the virus link had only just been identified. Prof Sutton said he was unaware of what health authorities knew on Wednesday.
Prof Sutton said Victoria remained in with a "decent chance" for restrictions to ease, as planned, on October 19.
© AAP 2020