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Pan Pacific Melbourne Hotel quarantine bungle leaves couple needing to beg for more food

A couple in hotel quarantine in Victoria were forced to call for more food every day for ten days because authorities thought only one person was staying in their room.

Professional MMA fighter Kaan Ofli and his partner stayed in the Pan Pacific Hotel in Melbourne for their mandatory quarantine period after returning to the city on April 9. 

The 27-year-old told the Victorian inquiry into the hotel quarantine program staff served him and his partner just one meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the first ten days of their stay, leaving Mr Ofli to ask for more food three times a day. 

‘It was one meal we were receiving, one piece of fruit,’ Mr Ofli told the inquiry.

‘We weren’t getting bottles of water or anything like that, we were told to drink from the basin.’

The couple had to contact the Department of Health to ask fore more food on each occasion. 

‘We found it humiliating to have to call and plead for the basics,’ Mr Ofli said. 

‘It was really disheartening.’

A nurse finally discovered two people were staying in the couple’s room after calling to ask if the occupants had experienced any COVID-19 symptoms.

Despite daily calls from the nurses and both Mr Ofli and his partner answering the calls, staff were unaware two people were staying in the room.

The nurse on the tenth day asked his partner why she said ‘we’ when she was asked about her condition.

‘[My partner] was like “well there’s two of us in here”, and the nurse said “I’ve only got you in the system”,’ Mr Ofli said.

Mr Ofli was not registered to the room, meaning the food he had been given to eat was not Halal, which he had requested on his dietary form on arrival at the hotel based on his Muslim religious beliefs.

The couple were told they could order from UberEats and would have their food costs reimbursed, though they were never paid for their extra food orders.

Mr Ofli also told the inquiry a guard said they were allowed to go outside for fresh air after their third day because another guest had committed suicide.

Lawyers for the Department of Health and Human Services have claimed the death was not the reason fresh air breaks became permitted.

Neither Mr Ofli or his partner were tested for COVID-19 during their stay in the hotel.

The inquiry has previously heard 99 per cent of Victoria’s coronavirus cases stemmed from the bungled hotel quarantine system at the Rydges on Swanston and Stamford Plaza hotels.

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