Victoria State Premier Dan Andrews has apologised for a bungled hotel quarantine programme that led to most of Australia’s Covid-19 deaths.
He explained the quarantine system had been implemented quickly and without a pandemic rule book.
A retired judge who investigated Victoria state’s quarantine programme for returned travellers criticised the use of private security guards to enforce isolation in Melbourne hotels in May and June, in his report.
“I want to apologise to the Victoria community for the very clear errors that were made in this programme,” Andrews said after the report’s release.
The slipshod infection controls at two Melbourne quarantine hotels set off a wave of infections while the rest of the country had been largely virus-free.
Of Australia’s total 908 deaths from Covid-19, over 800 died in Victoria.
Police now provide security at Melbourne quarantine hotels, reports the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, an ongoing outbreak in Sydney’s northern beaches appears to be slowing.
Only 15 cases were added in the past 24 hours, half the previous day’s total. All 15 new cases were linked to two live music venues.
New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian cautioned against assuming those numbers will continue to decline, saying: “In a pandemic, there is a level of volatility, so we’ll closely monitor what happens.”
The current virus is an American strain suspected to have leaked from Sydney hotel quarantine.
More than 250,000 Sydney residents in the northern beaches area are under a four-day lockdown until Wednesday.
All Australian states have imposed restrictions on travellers from Sydney and other parts of New South Wales because of the outbreak there.