GUARDS have been pictured asleep on a quarantine hotel floor in Australia amid allegations security romped with British tourists.
The images have come to light as an official probe gets underway to examine whether a huge surge in Covid-19 infections in the state of Victoria was linked to its bungled isolation programme.
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Since the Australia travel ban came into force in March, all travellers returning from overseas must self-isolate in designated hotels for 14 days.
Tourists caught in the city during virus lockdown face the same no-nonsense restrictions.
But a shocking investigation by ABC’s Four Corners show has lifted the lid on “dirty” conditions and risky practices reported by guests and guards inside the quarantine hotels, which have been blamed for Victoria’s deadly second Covid-19 wave.
The state has seen 17,027 confirmed cases and 334 virus deaths, many of which have been linked to the hotels.
In stunning video and photographs, guests staying at an undisclosed hotel filmed guards employed working for Unified Security kipping on the job when they should have been keeping watch.
Christine Cocks, who is an oncology nurse and infection control expert, was quarantined at the Rydges on Swanston hotel after returning from a cruise and was shocked at conditions.
She told ABC: “When we arrived in our room and saw the fine layer of dust across the top of the bar and the shelves there, and the dirty table, the dirty desk, across the top of the bar.
“We had a feeling that things might not have been as clean as we were expecting of the whole situation and that the handling might not be up to what it should have been.”
It also emerged today at an official inquiry that more than 99 per cent of today’s Covid-19 cases in Victoria stem from travellers.
Launching an inquiry, Premier Daniel Andrews said there were a “handful” of breaches among staff at the hotels which may play a part in the outbreaks.
Further allegations to be probed include claims guards shook hands with each other and shared lifts.
It is also claimed they were given limited training and wore PPE for extended periods of time without changing it.
Genomic testing, which tracks the markings of different strains of the virus, revealed Covid-19 may have been spreading among people who had contact with hotel staff and guests.
Health officials believe the virus was likely contracted at the hotel quarantine locations before being spread among friends and relatives of security guards.