Victorian hotel quarantine security guards were not allowed to chase travellers trying to escape

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Hotel quarantine guards were BANNED from chasing down locked down travellers if they ‘did a runner’ and escaped coronavirus isolation

  • Security guards at were not allowed to chase returned travellers trying to escape
  • Wilson Security’s GM said quarantine breaches were instead reported to police 
  • About 99 per cent of state’s second wave linked to Rydges and Stamford Hotels
  • Victoria recorded a further 113 cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths on Thursday 

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Security guards monitoring returned travellers were not allowed to chase after people who tried to escape mandatory hotel quarantine. 

Gregory Watson, the Victorian general manager of Wilson Security, told the inquiry into the quarantine failures that security staff were instructed not to pursue anyone who managed to get outside the hotel.

‘If anybody was to do a runner or abscond, we were to let them go, and then it would be advised to the police, whose job it would be then to follow up,’ Mr Watson said, Herald Sun reported. 

Staff inside the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen moving luggage for guests in quarantine on June 25

Hotel staff in Melbourne unload luggage from a bus as passengers prepare to quarantine on April 26

Victorian hotel quarantine security guards were not allowed to chase travellers trying to escape

General view of signage on the exterior of the Stamford Plaza Hotel on in Melbourne, Tuesday, July 14, which is linked to Victoria’s second outbreak 

However Mr Watson said it was ‘disappointing’ that bureaucrats from the Department of Jobs, Regions and Precincts had described the company as ‘difficult’ and ‘hard to work with’.

‘I thought it was all fairly amicable and sensible,’ Mr Watson said of the company’s relationship with pubic service staff.

‘I didn’t realise that we had won the reputation of being difficult to deal with at that point in time, so it was a little bit disappointing to learn that, because what we were pointing out was fair and reasonable in relation to infection control measures and indeed the powers of a security officer.’

No guards from Wilson Security were reported of contracting COVID-19 or of spreading it outside the hotels and into the community. 

However eight Wilson Security guards deployed to hotels were fired for either sleeping on the job, being rude, abandoning their posts and one who made an inappropriate advances towards a hotel guest, Mr Watson confirmed.

The company also received a total of 23 complaints about staff and subcontractors during their time monitoring hotels – 21 of them occurred in the first fortnight. 

Victorian hotel quarantine security guards were not allowed to chase travellers trying to escape

Overseas travellers get off their bus and wait to check in at the Crown Promenade Hotel in Melbourne, Sunday, March 29, 2020

Victorian hotel quarantine security guards were not allowed to chase travellers trying to escape

Overseas travellers arrive at the Crown Promenade Hotel in Melbourne, Sunday, March 29, 2020

The revelations comes after the inquiry heard that eight security guards subcontracted by MSS Security tested positive to COVID-19 to the virus while working at the Stamford Plaza hotel in mid-June.

The guards are believed to have contracted the killer disease while carpooling and working on the same floor.    

About 99 per cent of the state’s second wave of COVID-19 can be traced back to outbreaks at those two hotels. 

United Risk Management’s director Mina Attalah told the inquiry on Wednesday he was unsure how seven of his guards came to contract the virus.

He issued a statement to the inquiry, noting that one of his guards had carpooled with a Security Hug guard on June 14 – the pair tested positive to COVID-19 around the same time. 

‘He wore a face mask during the car trip to work,’ Mr Attalah wrote.

Then the Security Hub guard was rostered to work on the same floor as two United Risk Management guards who also tested positive to COVID-19.  

‘I am not aware as to the circumstances in which the remaining United guards who contracted COVID-19 may have contracted it,’ Mr Attalah wrote.

‘However, at the conclusion of the day shift on 14 June 2020, the three guards on that floor were replaced by three night shift guards (one of whom worked for United) and to my knowledge, all three of those guards subsequently contracted COVID-19.’

Victorian hotel quarantine security guards were not allowed to chase travellers trying to escape

Rydges on Swanston and Stamford Plaza hotels have been identified as the source of Melbourne’s coronavirus outbreaks

Victorian hotel quarantine security guards were not allowed to chase travellers trying to escape

General view of signage on the exterior of the Stamford Plaza Hotel on in Melbourne, Tuesday, July 14

MSS Security’s Jamie Adams and Sam Krekelis and Unified Security’s Nigel Coppick and Mo Nagi are scheduled to front the inquiry on Thursday.

Genomic data released by the Andrews government reveals 90 per cent of Victoria’s second wave came from breaches at the Rydges Hotel, while nine per cent came from Stamford Plaza. 

Of the 5,395 samples provided for genomic testing up until August 14, 3,594 were traced to the Rydges Hotel, and 110 to Stamford Plaza.

From mid-July to mid-August, 1,577 samples were linked back to Rydges and 12 from Stamford. 

Victoria recorded a further 113 cases on Thursday with 15 deaths.  

Victorian hotel quarantine security guards were not allowed to chase travellers trying to escape

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