He’s got to go. How Dan Andrews infected Victoria

The Andrews Government’s COVID-19 failures continue to mount.

In addition to botching hotel quarantine, thus enabling COVID-19 to be imported into the community, the Andrews Government also starved the public health unit of funding, leaving it critically short of contract tracers:

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s team was so poorly funded that top bureaucrats warned the Andrews government multiple times the state’s public health unit was the worst resourced in the country.

While the alarm was sounded in May 2019, according to documents seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, the Department of Health and Human Services still had only 14 contact tracers by the time coronavirus took hold in Australia in March.

The government was put on notice about the poor state of its public health team last year when the DHHS document comparing Victoria’s resourcing to NSW and Queensland was circulated as part of a push for extra funding.

The document, which describes the main role of a public health team as “preventing the transmission of communicable diseases [and] managing outbreaks”, gives a stark assessment of Victoria’s preparedness…

Several DHHS sources claim the government’s difficulties in getting the second deadly wave of coronavirus under control could be linked to ongoing problems with contact tracing…

“PHOs [public health officers] in the CDPC [Communicable Disease and Prevention Control] Unit in Victoria have been managing much higher case load numbers and had higher population ratios than similar staff in other states and territories, with the number of PHO staff in Victoria half the size of … (New South Wales),” it warned…

According to the documents, Victoria had just six physicians in its health protection branch compared to 24 in NSW and 17 in Queensland…

Despite the warnings that Victoria needed a bigger public health team, the number of staff had been in decline for at least 18 months before coronavirus hit Australia…

“The bungling of hotel quarantine is a major factor in Victoria’s case numbers, but even before that we were struggling,” another department source said…

Damning stuff. No wonder COVID-19 cases continue to run rampant in Victoria, whereas they are better controlled in NSW.

Leith van Onselen

Comments

    • It’s not politics, Dan is incompetent:

      1. Yesterday we learned that people who test positive and are fully contagious in VIC are allowed to leave home ‘for exercise’ unsupervised as often as they want.

      2. We also learned that close contacts of a confirmed case are not tested. Say the spouse and kids of a case. They have to quarantine at home for 14 days (with the confirmed case usually).

      3. We learned that people are not tested before leaving quarantine.

      • DouglasMEMBER

        Hear Hear Andrews is incompetent and has shown himself to be an unsuitable person to be Premier by totallydiverting blame to aged care operations by casting aspersions. The hotel quarantine fiasco led into the aged care tragedy as some of the security guard cohort mixed closely with the mainly female aged care workers. So it was predictable and probably avoidable. However, now Andrews faces weeks of announcing aged care deaths which will be agonising for him. The other outlook is that the sons and daughters and other relatives of the deceased will be feral and may go to class action for negligence.

        • billygoatMEMBER

          quarantine fiasco led into the aged care tragedy as some of the security guard cohort mixed closely with the mainly female aged care workers. …….
          Aaaahhhhh $EX the root of all evil…gettin my babble on:)
          It’s not as though ‘essential’ & non essential nurses, pilots, hostesses, ambulance folk & pol ice etc don’t have rep for client ‘relations’ of the frowned upon kind.
          Social distance the great divide.
          In the words of Sting aka The Police efty m hotties:
          Don’t stand, don’t stand so close to me.
          Keep your beating heart 1.5metres from another at all times lest you catch a cold. A Tishoo A Tishoo we all fall down.

      • Infected people have needs as well getting out on fresh air helps them to live and recover faster … what would you do .. shoot them
        Contact tracingbis meaningless once you have 5000 cases, not even US army could trace that many people and tgeir contacts

    • No its the bureaucracy leaking against the politicians. Usually a sign of very unhappy campers within govt, and a government approaching its “best by” date. Andrews blames everyone but himself and it is clear that his decisions on quarantine … why would we use ADF when we have mates who can do security … and now on public health funding … that directly led to pathetic VIC performance compared to other ststes. Andrews’ blame game has intensified peoples rage with him. A different ALP premier like Brumby or the QLD bloke before Anna Bligh would have handled this very differently and would not have the same anger now.

        • billygoatMEMBER

          MB Is a newly discovered bridge for trolls to gather beneath.
          Must be a large warm and cosy spot for lots of em.
          So big there’s an abandoned high rise in which they are squatting, services still connected so they can work from home collect job keeper & doing what they do best…putting $ hitt on folk who don’t agree with their narrative. Shiver me timbers:))

    • ZevombatMEMBER

      All states have had weaknesses but there’s no insight or analysis in these, it’s just frothing we-hate-Dan content. I guess there’s an audience for that but it’s a lot more whinging than economics.

      • “All states have had weaknesses but there’s no insight or analysis in these, it’s just frothing we-hate-Dan content.”

        Other states are not experiencing an explosion in virus cases and a second long lockdown. Pretty simple stuff.

        • Not yet, and you are also assuming that other things like environment don’t play any role … quite naive when you look around the world and see different cities in same states experiencing vastly different results

          • @R2M, I can’t recall Dr Chant making that comparison.
            Nevertheless you’re right, given the probability of dying from COV is so low, most comparable diseases are ‘much, much’ worse. This includes influenza. More than 900 people died last year because of the flu but no one called that a pandemic and stopped the world.
            And by comparison, covid is a pandemic?

  1. Robert Johnson

    Pay $150,00 to each person who dies *from* the virus (ie. no pre-existing conditions)
    Pay $20,000 to each person who dies *with* the virus.

    Victoria will get about 1,200 in the first category and 2,400 in the second category.

    Total cost: about $200million, or less than a day’s lockdown cost.

  2. Are these comparisons like for like? Are their roles the same in all states? Pretty poor if thats the case, though Victoria is centralized and the other states not right? .

    Is the 1+ billion the federal government pulled out of aged care recently relevant to the massive outbreaks we are seeing in Aged Care?

    At some stage we all need to appreciate that if half of active infections aren’t isolating its irrelevant how big you response is. Dan should have gone harder with enforcing the management of testing and isolation, but with his Dictator Dan tag hes been completely wedged by the state libs and the usual suspects in media.

    • C.M.BurnsMEMBER

      If those details on Vic PHO numbers are correct and they are the only PHOs in the state (centralised as you said) then that’s damning.

      I know that there were more contact tracers (including temps as they surged to meet Covid) in just one of the NSW Health district in April. There are more than ten NSW health districts…

  3. Forrest GumpMEMBER

    @ MB: Why are you attacking Dan Andrews for the failures of a Private contractor that failed to do the job that it was paid to do?

    Are you going to Blame Dan for the 22 deaths associated with the international cruise ship Ruby Princes that docked in NSW where Border Control contractors allowed all 2000 passengers to disembark and infect the rest of Australia?

    Wilson Security: The same contractors have been used by the Federal Government at Manus & Nauru-Not Aust Fed Police

    So whats good for the goose….you know the rest.

    • “@ MB: Why are you attacking Dan Andrews for the failures of a Private contractor that failed to do the job that it was paid to do?”

      Because they should never have contracted out vital biosecurity to dodgy private security. Because they failed to take corrective action when problems were discovered early on.

      You cannot damage control this mass incompetence. They let the virus spread into the community while knee-capping the response by slashing communicable disease funding.

      • One mistake can perhaps be forgiven, but Dan’s failure to:

        Lock down hard the 2nd time,
        Permit those covid positives to leave home
        Not isolate covid positives from other family members
        Obfuscate for so long as to the undeniable and obvious benefit of masks.

        But to mandate from midnight tonight no home visits, but that pubs and restaurants can stay open, is the ultimate in incompetence..

        I expect open rebellion from Victorians now. All those who are making so many sacrifices, who have been isolated from elderly loved ones, young couples giving birth with no family back up etc etc – that restaurants and pubs can stay open but you cannot visit a new grandchild or aged relative will be the last straw for many.

        Moreover, its well documented OS that pubs and restaurants are virus spreaders, and as Dan complains every day, it’s quite o bvious Strayans are not socially distancing……this latest is plain crazy.

        it’s all over red rover for Vic, and by extension, Straya.

  4. wow this article is full of non sequituurs

    firstly, why does it require a physician to do contact tracing?

    Any moron can do it.
    Where did you go
    who else was there
    what are their phone numbers

    don’t need a uni degree for that
    don’t even need to finish high school

    also its quite clear that number of physicians per 100,000 has no correlation with cases per population

    thirdly, dan had nothing to do with the number of public health physicians in victoria because their number is likely to be static

    fourthly, public health physicians are idiots. the lowest of the low from medical school who can’t deal with actual patients and making decisions – what a terrible situation they found themselves in when all they wanted was a cushy government job in a nice office!

    • Forrest GumpMEMBER

      More to the point:

      Compare the Pair:

      Aged Cared Homes
      The Federal Govt privatized aged care allowing businesses to operate in the arena of looking after peoples (aged) health in aged cared homes. bunch of poorly paid un qualified private contractors on casual day hire

      Compared to:

      Hotel Quarantine

      A bunch of able bodied potential virus carriers most (if not all) of whom are NOT aged, whom have travelled overseas and are in good health living in similar environment to an aged care home: I.e. a venue with rooms, kitchen, bathrooms, entertainment facilities, etc. Of whom are being looked after by (Copy/Paste from below) A bunch of poorly paid un-qualified private contractors on casual day hire

      The outcome is the same: Both venues have iffections of Covid.

      So why Blame Dan for the Hotel Quarantine Issue, but not the federal government of its (same) failures in aged care facilities?

      • “So why Blame Dan for the Hotel Quarantine Issue, but not the federal government of its (same) failures in aged care facilities?”

        Pretty simple. The virus would never have spread into the community in the first place without quarantine failures. Failed quarantine is why Australia is in its current predicament. Aged Care failures are a secondary effect.

        What don’t you understand here?

        • I dont disagree Leith but it is hard to have absolute conviction that there weren’t silent cases in other parts of the community. The words “strong contributor” seem more balanced.

          • The genomic sequencing to date shows that the virus is a different strain to the first wave. Thus it was imported into the community via failed quarantine.

  5. For what its worth he seems genuinely aggrieved as to what has occurred.
    And the buck passing between state and feds over the current appalling state of affairs in running the aged care homes is not helping.
    But someone has to take responsibility. The buck stops with him. So either clean house and dispense some justice or resign now.
    Prosecute and jail the security guards and residents of the hotels that common sense says should have know better.
    They cant get away with the “no one told me” excuse.
    Prosecute and jail the ceo and senior staff of the security company. Confiscate all company and personal assets as compensation. Revoke all citizenship/visas for all involved and deport them. Fire state and federal health ministers now.
    this incident and the Ruby princess incident shows the health department is run by incompetents.
    Fire the entire department and charge senior managers.
    Then the premier needs to resign and call a new state election as soon as possible.

    • Robert Johnson

      But for what? About 110 people die in Victoria each day from any cause, looking at the ages and health conditions of the people that have died its unlikely there is any excess.

      What *has* caused excess deaths in the lockdowns, which meant that 700 people in Australia couldn’t access regular medical care, and 50% (1500) more people committed suicides.

      These are people who had decades to live, instead of people in nursing homes with an average length of stay of 11 months before deaths.

      • I hate to see anyone get sick but why don’t we also have a segment on suicides caused by the economic crisis, it’s fine to show is COVID patience 90 years old, why don’t they also show people hanging from a tree, or people that have stuck a gun in their mouth and blown their head off,
        Have both segments, also families that have lost their livelihood & the people that have entered mental health care clinics

        Actually why don’t MB post information on the deaths caused by this lock down

        News.com,au
        Suicide from COVID is running at 2x the death rate of COVID

        Come on, why doesn’t this site talk about the wider impact on people’s livelihoods

  6. Yeah I never understood though why States took on board the quarantine responsibility.. Isn’t biosecurity a national responsibility? So what’s happened here is, the feds have handed over their responsibility to the states, who have handed over their responsibility to private contractors, who have handed over responsibility to sub-contractors who have hired people on whatsapp.
    So I dont disagree that the state head got to go, but so does the fed? Or is it up to each state who they let in from overseas?

          • Yes, for INTERSTATE borders.
            This quarantine failure is from international people coming back to Aust from overseas. International borders are always Fed responsibility no matter which state you are in. The airport customs, immigration, border protection etc all feds. Try and sneak in drugs, bananas, seeds through an international airport and the feds are on it.

            But a virus that threatens the nation? State responsibility apparently.. different rules and processes depending on where you land. Why?

            Why did the states take on the responsbility? And why did the feds feel that they should delegate this to the states and can wash their hands of it?

  7. elasticMEMBER

    So if the virus runs rampant through Queensland now as a result of the two teenage girls from Victoria holidaying there, against the rules, should it mean that the Queensland PM should resign?
    Although the hotel quarantine was a screwup, at that time there was no real intent to eradicate the virus, and it was expected that a second wave may well occur. I think that there was way too much complacency in the public and a shock at how virulent this strain appears to be. Did the other states hire the ADF to do their hotel quarantine or have they just been lucky?

  8. LittleEmperorMEMBER

    This is not a Labor/liberal matter. This is not (just) a relentless campaign by a Murdoch rag. This is a matter of shocking incompetence and the consequences of decades of poor policy (contracting everything, dilution of responsibility, neoliberalism) reaching a crescendo. People who I would have considered apolitical and who don’t even follow the news are furious about this and have used colourful language to express their discontent. I think Dan is done and even his farce “inquiry” will be unable to redirect blame sufficiently to save him.

    • It’s the Right Wing calling the virus a hoax, encouraging people not to wear masks and posting videos of themselves ignoring health advice. Simply refer to the likes of Alan Jones and Tim Smith.

      Unsurprisingly it’s the Right Wing who are also calling for Andrews to be sacked.

      • Not entirely accurate

        Lots of lefties think it’s a hoax

        It’s a people issue not left and right

        Lots of people are basically borderline retarded

    • elasticMEMBER

      What everyone is forgetting is that initially returning passengers just had to spend 14 days at home. Then they started to take it a bit more seriously and put them up in hotels, but they didn’t have mandatory testing. Then they decided they needed to be tested in hotel quarantine if they wanted to return to Australia. The process has been lax from the start. There has never been any plan to eradicate the virus otherwise these security measures would have been stringent. If this had happened in NZ then sure get outraged because they were planning on eradicating it but we have allowed holes in the net, not just in hotel quarantine.

  9. ignoratio elenchiMEMBER

    I for one recommend that Dan call an election and let Tim Smith take over. I wrote yesterday (and was moderated somehow) wondering amongst other things about the lack of any scrutiny of the government agencies who enforce quarantine (Hint, they are federal).

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