Melbourne’s quarantine failures must stop international student arrivals

Victoria’s Andrews Government yesterday ordered an immediate judicial inquiry into quarantine failures, which are behind the COVID-19 outbreak that has 37 Melbourne suburbs on a four week lockdown:

Premier Daniel Andrews ­announced a judicial inquiry into the cluster of infections from staff at quarantine hotels who breached infection control protocols and have been linked to almost 50 COVID-19 cases.

Stay-at-home restrictions on more than 300,000 residents will come into force from midnight on Wednesday after the state confirmed 64 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and 75 on Monday. The jump followed a fortnight of double-digit daily case counts which have seen the number of active cases in Victoria rise to 321.

Victoria’s surge in new cases has accelerated so fast in the past week that its infection rate is now greater than Italy’s on a per-capita basis…

Announcing the new localised lockdown on Tuesday, Mr ­Andrews conceded genomic ­sequencing had linked a large proportion of the state’s new cases to infection control breaches in Victoria’s hotel quarantine program…

Admitting there had “clearly” been a “failure” in the operation of the program, Mr Andrews on Tuesday announced all inter­national flights would be diverted away from Melbourne for the next fortnight, Corrections Victoria staff would take over security roles, and an inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine system, led by a former judge, would be established with a report due in eight to 10 weeks.

And this:

The security companies that oversaw Victoria’s bungled corona­virus quarantine regimen were handed contracts without a ­formal tender process as the government rushed to implement a national cabinet decision to lock down returning overseas travellers.

The Australian has confirmed three private security firms — MSS, Unified and Wilson — were given the contracts without having to qualify through a formal tender process after national cabinet ordered mandatory hotel quarantine on March 28.

…The Herald Sun reports on Thursday that some security firms allegedly ­exploited the pandemic by using fake names for non-existent workers and paid workers in cash, long a scourge in the security industry. It also claims that some hotel guards slept with guests, security personnel wore personal protective equipment for up to eight hours without changing it, guards shook hands and shared lifts in a major breach of regulations and some of them had just six hours of ­infection control training and were caught sleeping on the job.

Melbourne’s quarantine failures must silence calls to bring international students into Australia. There are no full-proof systems with this virus.

Last month we learned that international students would begin to be flown into Australia from July, with Canberra and Adelaide receiving the first charter flights. Other jurisdictions were expected to follow, with international students to be quarantined for two weeks, paid for in part by Australian taxpayers.

MB has vigorously opposed this plan from the outset on grounds that:

  1. It risks increasing the transmission of COVID-19 throughout Australia, given quarantine far from water tight;
  2. Taxpayers should not have to wear any of the costs; and
  3. It is grossly unfair to bring international students into Australia when residents are not permitted to travel overseas and are unable to freely travel interstate.

The clusters of cases at quarantine hotels unambiguously demonstrates how risky any significant return of international students would be.

The universities’ boast of a “COVID-19 safe corridor” is pure marketing spin. It does not exist. The potential for further COVID-19 outbreaks would clearly multiply with thousands of international students arriving, risking further shutdowns and placing Australian lives at risk. It is an asymmetric bet that offers huge downside risks for minimal upside.

Australia’s international border must remain shut to everyone other than citizens and permanent residents. There must be no exceptions.

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. Morrison will feel strong heat, to sublimate the Australian peoples to the only things that matter – Market and GDP.

    But, much more so than Toddler Trump, he might also perceive some heat from (a) self preservation (b) the states.

    • funny how political poles have different positions

      fake left in USA wants everything shut and lockdowns into infinity while in Australia fake left wants ‘000s international students to arrive
      so called conservatives in USA wants everything to open while in Australia they want to stay closed and isolated forever

      weird

    • DominicMEMBER

      (Fake) GDP, yes. ‘Market’, no. Not the free market, at any rate.

      Govts hate free markets – their sole aim is to influence the market, nudge it in the ‘right’ direction (if you get my drift). If the free market reigned here, we’d have a materially different looking economy than the one we do now.

      • Maybe. What got us here is an economic system based on unfettered competition and dependent on never ending growth. This worked for a while as long as there were abundant resources but as these declined over the last fifty years, we’ve constructed ever more complex financial systems to conceal that the whole edifice is increasingly built on a fantasy land of thin air.

        Meanwhile the real world has rapidly-depleting resources, including topsoil, climate, cheap oil and many minerals, which, in combination with the insanity of ever-expanding exponential population growth, has finally brought us to where we are today.

        The disconnect between the two systems has been growing (and ignored) for fifty years. Nature always bats last for all eternity and now it’s her turn…..

        So the only growth we will soon experience is the ever-expanding deserts we continue to grow exponentially in the absurd delusion that we can ignore the laws of nature that have been around since time began. All the crap and carry on about the human-constructed immensely complex financial system is doomed to collapse in the face of the basic tenant that given exponential population growth, we’ve been living beyond our means for two hundred years, while the means to support our ever-growing numbers have been whittled down to almost nothing….

        • DominicMEMBER

          I’m a debt guy, by trade, and agree in part with that thesis. The way I’d look at the never-ending growth angst is as follows:
          – there is no problem with the idea of never ending growth – that’s fundamental to the sustainability of the human race and to progress.
          – but I understand why this is causing angst and that’s because of the following: when you borrow to consume, you bring the future forward. Given that most borrowing eventually gets tied up in mortgages, you can reasonably assert that future consumption has been brought forward by 15 – 25 years.
          – which means that we have a monster depression ahead as consumption craters and we enter a period of mandatory austerity.
          – the existing monetary system is front and centre to blame for enabling this ability to borrow huge amounts today to fund consumption, so it’s actually the monetary system that’s on borrowed time, not the concept of endless growth.
          – once the existing monetary system expires, debt-based growth will expire too and a more sustainable economic system will emerge.

          • I’ve tried to reply to your comment, but seems I’m blocked, banned and damned. I’ll try elsewhere….

  2. The question is why Vic stuffed up even though NSW were also doing similar repatriations.
    The volumes of warm bodies that the unis are looking to bring in will probably be much higher than the repatriations to make any difference so agree there is a much greater risk in the unis plan.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      I believe the testing requirements were different in NSW. When in the hotel you had to be tested and cleared before release, where testing was optional in Vic and you could leave post 14 days (at least that was my understanding – I could be wrong). It is likely partly luck / chance as well.

    • The difference is that in NSW, the quarantine hotels were staffed by police and army personnel, who are evidently better than members of the general public in terms of learning and following the procedures necessary to prevent the spread of infection.

    • billygoatMEMBER

      @Ream
      Cos COVID is #faek
      Challenge for narrative weavers to keep their story elements consistent.
      Also I imagine deliberate as mixed message creates confusion & fear. The irony of UNION Rd in Ascot Vale being the divider of COVID Hot spots and Vic premier arbitrarily picking by post codes despite the COVID anthem for Australia “We’re all in this together’ Hardly:)
      Ludicrous:)
      777 Jackpot Jokers:))

    • SIL worked for the Sydney quarantines – yes very tightly managed via Police. She works in Health and was diverted to the hotels to assist – even for her to deliver things she had to suit up and be transported by Police. Seems it was pretty tightly managed all round (she noted the travellers weren’t always pleasant and would try everything on).

      • It seems that every state has to have one big stuff-up, before they pull their socks up and do the job properly. For NSW it was the Ruby Princess, for Tasmania it was the north-west outbreak, and for Victoria it was the quarantine debacle. Unfortunately, they do not have the nous to learn from each other’s mistakes; they have to make their own mistakes before they learn.

    • Cookie Cutter

      Because he’s right, sadly.

      We can’t outspend China, and the weapons we are buying are close to useless, being bought through a corrupt process.

      In terms of defense, the CCP system of government is superior to our Crony Capitalist one.

      • DominicMEMBER

        Even if our equipment were superior the sheer volume of theirs over ours would be enough to achieve superiority.

        This defence spending is a waste because it’s little more than a reason to spend more taxpayer loot and ‘boost’ GDP. In all likelihood, not a single weapon bought in this $270bn boondoggle will ever be used to defend our borders from invaders.

        • Jumping jack flash

          This.
          Military manufacturing – and when you dont have manufacturing capacity, military spending, is a great and proven way to pull a country out of a great depression.

          It really doesnt matter past the fact that money is spent, and the spending justified.

          There is a fundamental difference though so the effect of spending may not be as great as the effect of actual manufacturing on the economy.

        • All expenses paid junkets to the USA don’t come free. If we don’t buy some gear, Dutto can forget about a return invitation.

          It would probably be cheaper just to allow our politicians to be corrupt and take money for themselves and their friends for nothing in return, rather than finance these bloated and pointless projects.

      • PalimpsestMEMBER

        It’s not just the volume either. For example the Chinese army now has new lighter model wheeled large caliber mortars and a newer model light tank that have been developed for combat in mountain areas. These have engines for high altitude work. Just think about some implications. That’s R&D, manufacturing, electronics, resources, and a planning capability to develop dedicated equipment for a stoush with one country in one area, and it’s better equipment for that purpose. They can churn out as many as they need, for as long as they need.
        Australia competing with China strategically? A country that can’t fund radio Australia through the Pacific, or even the ABC? That gave up the bandwidth and let the Chinese networks take it. That doesn’t have a military ally to rely on, but plans to buy some missiles and some JSF (outperformed by the Chinese model a couple of years ago). A country that failed to give Trump a branded Hotel or Golf course, so the current US administration won’t care if we go truly under? Yeah, right.

      • The FNG.MEMBER

        They certainly talk a big game. They dont show in this animation how the missile avoids the fire from the Chinese “Phalanx” equivalent. After the impressive promotional video showcasing next gen autonomous cruise missile capability my only question is “So do these things actually work?”

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h449oIjg2kY

    • billygoatMEMBER

      @Floob
      Because it creates confusion.
      Mixed message from politicians that voting folk put blind trust in.
      Dayastia on the take from CCP
      Dayastrtiari publicly against CCP
      He supposedly lost his job but still has nation wide public platform to sound his views. Meanwhile folk being licked down in their suburbs except
      1. You can work.
      2 you can shop at coles Woolies and Bunnings
      3. You can walk your dog
      4. You can care for family or friends
      So you can pretty much do anything.
      There is possibility military /police might pull you over booze bus style to look at your drivers licence. Folk will see this on the news but not know it’s a staged show. Majority of folk willingly imprison.
      Every freeway over pass on Monday signed at motorist that they must stay at home & get tested.
      Irony Chadstone shopping centre COVID testing station closed all week. Driven past sign every day this week. Suckers:))

    • The FNG.MEMBER

      That’s very much like the Chinese response: “You dont need to buy any weapons” (Jedi hand wave)

    • Hill Billy 55MEMBER

      No wonder the ABC is being defunded. Fancy running a story like that! Do they think they live in a free society?

  3. scottb1978MEMBER

    You know it’s going to happen. This site consistently lays out the correct course of action with detailed explanations why and then just as consistently the opposite happens 🤣

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      I find it frustrating that other media outlets don’t ask these questions rather than just reprinting the press release. :-/

      • DominicMEMBER

        Mainly:
        – risk of inferred raycism
        – editorial line (governed to a degree by advertising revenues)

        Publishing stuff of substance is secondary to the above two considerations.

  4. reusachtigeMEMBER

    There have been no quarantine failures. The virus has been caused by Black Lives Matters protesters!!

  5. I may be naive. However Morrison’s making all the right noises at the moment.

    A while back the great Donald talked of allies not pulling their weight. I wonder what’s been going on behind the scenes with the USA and AUS, I would say the 270 billion is small fry to keep our big brother on side.

    And for the treasonous China apologists a bit of lead should do the trick.

    How many sleeper agents are in this country like that munted face journo at the pm conference the other day.

    What do we do when their mo slides from propaganda to more activist interventions.

    • DominicMEMBER

      $270bn buys a lot of weapons …. from US defence companies.

      (But I’m sure the tender process will be squeaky clean. And look for the Gubmint to buy the weapons disassembled so they can be re-assembled at a newly built facility in a marginal LNP electorate )

      • Charles MartinMEMBER

        yeah, the poor military industrial complex has had a rough time under Trump, their profits must have suffered badly.
        They are the real losers of the 2016 election.

      • Yeah, so just hand over your soverighty as some crooks may make money, or, you may lose it anyway due to being outspent! What a weak arguement.
        Now watch the Chamberlain type appeasers come out of the woodwork.

      • Just stop iron ore exports. Would cost a lot less than $270b and be more effective.

    • We would be mad to depend on either US or China……both want to exploit us. The Yanks never give you enough ammo to fight your own wars, only when fighting their wars do you get enough missiles etc. Even Israel gets starved of air tankers and Hawkeye types to keep them in line.

      We should get Almaz-Antey to set up here, true we would only get the export versions but that would be good enough for us and we would get enough supplies to fight our own wars. This would springboard us to build the skills base we need to protect ourselves. Russia has enough resources for their population so shouldn’t need to steal ours like US, China and India need to.

  6. No! Open the gates and lower teh rates! That always fixes teh thing! The quarantine hotel sexual shenanigans just adds to the vibrancy. If you have a go, you will get a go (and COVID-19).

  7. Arthur Schopenhauer

    A sparkling and low flying Gulfstream 650 flew over the house yesterday. Long wing, long range model. Had to wonder where the passengers would be quarantining?
    In there own house perhaps? If at all?

  8. The TR migrant guestworkers were always going to be the incubation hub and vector of disease transmission to the Australian community.

    2.4 million TR / SCV non Australian migrant guestworkers.
    An OECD record in both the number of non citizens migrant guestworkers and the absolute bottom of the barrel scrapings of the third world allowed in on pretext visas to live & work illegally.
    We have more migrant guestworkers than Gaddafi at his peak.
    A long standing economic and social risk to all Australians.
    And now a clear and present bio security risk.

    90% of which (2.2 million) who are highly concentrated in our 2 major cities in vast fetid overcrowded migrant enclaves as a faithful replica of their third world slums of origin.

    👉🏽0.9 million in Melbourne.
    👉🏽1.3 million in Sydney.
    👉🏽0.2 million elsewhere in our other regional centres in ‘mini me’ replica migrant third world slums.

    At least half or 1.2 million of them in Australia on a now invalid or expired visa pretext. (Foreign student, skilled visa, protection visa, partner visa, special visa etc).

    These are the epicentres of the China 🇨🇳 🦠 virus outbreak.

    Time to extend the street and suburb lockdown to a sweep thru these migrant zones, inspection of how they live, their activities and sources of income, their visa and COe status,
    And start the roundup and deportations back to their third world country of origin.