NSW Opposition Wants Hotel Quarantine System Improved

By AAP
August 22, 2020 Updated: August 22, 2020

The New South Wales opposition wants the state government to give hotel quarantine security staff full-time jobs to avoid a Victorian-style outbreak.

A second security guard who worked at the Marriott Hotel in Sydney has tested positive for COVID-19 after a week-long testing blitz on contacts of the first, who tested positive on Aug. 14.

He was the sole person among the first ill guard’s 700 contacts to return a COVID-19 positive test.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said the two guards worked the same shift on Aug. 3, while the newly-diagnosed guard also worked at Sheraton Grand Hyatt Park hotel on the night of Aug. 16.

He was asymptomatic at the time of his shifts.

The guard who originally tested positive also worked across a number of venues after he was exposed.

NSW Labor health spokesman Ryan Park says the government needs to learn from Victoria’s mistakes.

“Securing our quarantine hotels shouldn’t be a part-time job,” he said in a statement on Aug. 22.

“The role security guards play in hotel quarantine is too important.”

They want hotel guards to be given full-time positions within the quarantine system, to help contain the virus should more guards be exposed.

Labor is also pushing for guards to be subject to testing, like the police.

NSW reported nine new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Aug. 21 while the additional case of the security guard was confirmed after the 8 p.m. deadline.

“The obvious conclusion is that he may have been exposed to the same virus strain that our first guard was but for ultimate investigative thoroughness, we’re organising urgently for those samples to be transported for genomic sequencing,” Chant told reporters on Aug. 22.

By Tiffanie Turnbull