A bombshell report has revealed a Perth quarantine hotel at the centre of the city’s Covid outbreak was identified as being ‘high risk’ more than two weeks ago.
A Western Australia Health Department review into its hotel quarantine facilities and their ventilation on April 8 found the Mercure Hotel to be the most at risk of transmission, along with the Four Points and the Novotel Langley.
That led Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson to tell Premier Mark McGowan on April 14 the Mercure should not be used for returned travellers.
Less than a week later the hotel would be responsible for the state’s latest outbreak – which has now spread to Victoria and sparked a snap three-day lockdown over the Anzac Day weekend.
The results of the review were not published until after the latest infections, and Mr McGowan has been accused of ‘burying’ the report and presiding over a quarantine system full of ‘fatal flaws’.
A Western Australia Health Department review into its hotel quarantine facilities and their ventilation on April 8th found the Mercure Hotel to be the most at risk of transmission
Millions of Western Australians have been plunged into a three-day lockdown after one local case of coronavirus
Documents from Western Australia Health Department anaylsed the viability of Perth’s 10 hotel quarantine facilities
The report shows three hotels given a ‘high-risk’ designation, with the Mercure receiving the worst score and recommendation to be shut down as a hotel quarantine facility
The April 8 report provides a premonition for what was to come and a stark warning for the rest of the country to tighten its hotel quarantine systems.
The Hotel Quarantine Facility Ventilation Factors Summary reviewed the ten hotels being used to hold returning travellers, including the Mercure, Holiday Inn, Hyatt and Westin.
The summary reviewed 11 different factors, including corridor access to fresh air, ventilation rates, leakage and relative risk of exposure.
Three venues registered ‘high-risk’ designations – the Mercure, Four Points and Novotel Langley Hotels – with the Mercure recording the worst scores across the board.
Engineer notes on the Mercure’s problems said fixing its faults would be ‘difficult’ and ‘prohibitively costly to achieve’
A member of the public has sample taken at a busy drive through covid testing site in Inglewood, Perth
Engineer notes on the Mercure’s problems said fixing its faults would be ‘difficult’ and ‘prohibitively costly to achieve’, analysis that would have played a part in Dr Robertson’s decision to close the facility as a quarantine hotel.
Despite the review and advice from the state’s health experts, the hotel remained a functioning centre and as such has led to Perth being in a three-day lockdown over the Anzac Day weekend.
The review summary and Dr Robertson’s comments weren’t published until after Friday’s confirmed breakout, The West reported.
The West Australian government are also yet to release their initial and final reviews into hotel quarantine ventilation that were conducted in March.
Premier McGowan said Thursday the Mercure would cease holding overseas travellers, instead providing housing for ‘seasonal workers’ from ‘low-risk countries’.
From midnight residents in the Perth and Peel region will be locked down until Tuesday morning, meaning Anzac Day dawn services are cancelled
Libby Mettam, the Opposition Health Spokeswoman, says Premier McGowan had been ‘caught out burying a damning report’, claiming ‘gaping holes’ are prevalent in the state’s praised quarantine system.
‘It’s concerning that the McGowan Government was only forthcoming with the report following the revelation of transmission between travellers in the Mercure Hotel,’ she said Friday.
‘There is simply no way of spinning this, the Government have been sitting on a report since the beginning of April which states the Mercure was a risk from a ventilation perspective stating ‘leakage was likely between rooms’.
‘The Four Points Sheraton and Novotel Langley have also been highlighted and the McGowan Government must act and address these fatal flaws in their failed management of our hotel quarantine system.’
Masks must be worn from 6pm onwards, but residents will still be able to escape the zones until midnight, and a large-scale rugby union event will still take place.
Anzac Day services have been cancelled.
The lockdown was introduced after a 54-year-old man who was released from quarantine at the infamous Mercure Hotel and spent four days in the city tested positive in Melbourne on Friday morning.
The man’s friend who he stayed with also tested positive in Perth.
The man had caught the virus while in hotel quarantine from returned travellers, who had arrived from India and were staying in a nearby room on the same floor.
ANZAC WEEKEND – WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU:
Reasons to leave your house:
- Work if you can’t work from home or remotely
- Shopping essentials
- Health services
- Exercise – with maximum four people for one hour per day and masks must be worn unless it is rigorous exercise
Places that will close:
- Pubs, bars and clubs
- Places of worship
- Gyms and indoor sporting facilities
- Playgrounds and outdoor sporting facilities
- Entertainment venues
All Anzac Day services have been cancelled
Weddings will be allowed to continue with a 100-person maximum but masks must be worn
No visitors will be allowed at hospitals
People can only enter Perth and Peel regions for medical care
Masks are mandatory at all times when leaving the house from 6pm Friday