Source: Intercontinental Melbourne
Market Herald logo

Subscribe

Be the first with the news that moves the market
  • Victoria’s hotel quarantine program has reopened today after the first international flight in two months touched down
  • Eleven passengers landed in Victoria this morning from Sri Lanka, with other flights from Singapore, Doha and Dubai to land throughout the day
  • Six hotels have been reopened for hotel quarantine under stricter safety protocols after Victoria’s quarantine hotel issues over the past year
  • Ventilation systems have been refined and reviewed in hotels, while frontline staff will now undergo more testing and stricter screening measures
  • Acting Police Minister Danny Pearson said the hotels are ready for international arrivals following an extensive review into the quarantine program
  • Around 5000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 jab have been administered to Victorian frontline quarantine workers, with almost half having received their second dose

Victoria’s hotel quarantine program has reopened today after the first international flight in two months touched down this morning.

Melbourne stopped accepting international flights in February after the highly contagious U.K. strain of COVID-19 was leaked from a hotel being used as a quarantine location for overseas travellers.

The case led to a five-day lockdown and meant the hotel quarantine system had to shut down for the second time.

Now, 11 passengers landed in Victoria from Sri Lanka this morning and were then taken by bus to a hotel for their mandatory two-week quarantine. Other flights from Singapore, Doha and Dubai are landing throughout the day.

Altogether, today’s round of flights is expected to bring in a total of 106 overseas travellers to Victoria.

Six hotels in Victoria have reopened for quarantine purposes, including the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport, the Holiday Inn on Flinders, Novotel Ibis Melbourne Central and the Intercontinental.

Airline crew will quarantine at the Pan Pacific, while travellers with complex care needs will quarantine at Element Melbourne Richmond.

What’s changed this time around?

The Victorian government has deemed it safe to reopen the hotel quarantine program despite the severe issues the state has had with its quarantine system since the beginning of the pandemic.

Melbourne’s devastating second wave in 2020 was the result of poorly trained staff working at hotels being used for quarantine.

The February 2021 U.K. strain outbreak is being attributed to a hotel’s ventilation system which allowed the virus to spread to workers in the hotel who had no contact with quarantined guests.

As such, this time around a string of protective measures has been put in place to ensure the quarantine system keeps the virus contained.

First and foremost, reviews into hotels’ ventilation systems have been taken on and the safety of air conditioning systems strengthened.

Quarantine workers will also now take daily COVID-19 tests before each shift, be given incentive payments for voluntary testing on their days off and sign in with a QR app as part of additional screening measures.

Perhaps most importantly, around 5000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 jab have been administered to Victorian frontline quarantine workers, with almost half having received their second dose.

Acting Police Minister Danny Pearson said the six hotels are ready for international arrivals following an extensive review into the quarantine program.

“We’ve gone through these hotels room by room, floor by floor, to make sure that they are safe,” Minister Pearson said.

Under the revived quarantine program, Victoria will initially accept 800 international arrivals per week, with this number to be bumped up to 1120 arrivals by mid-April.

More From The Market Herald

" Hydrogen industry marks milestone with world first shipment of hydrogen

The Australian hydrogen industry just marked a milestone with the world's first shipment of liquefied hydrogen…
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: APP

" Australia and PNG sign $580m agreement for PNG port infrastructure

The Australian Government signs an agreement with Papua New Guinea for $580 million worth of upgrades…

" Serbia scraps $3.3b Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) lithium mine following weeks of protests

The Serbian government has this week bowed to local protestors and pulled the plug on Rio…

" Post-Delta jobs boom sees unemployment reach pre-GFC lows

Over 65,000 Australians found jobs in the first two weeks of December as unemployment shrank to…