‘Killed trust’: man with nebuliser speaks

The man who used a nebuliser in hotel quarantine has slammed the Andrews’ government saying he doesn’t trust them anymore.

The man who used a nebuliser in hotel quarantine kickstarting Victoria’s latest outbreak has requested an independent review of his case.

Health authorities believe the returned traveller, who contracted COVID-19 and suffers from chronic asthma, spread the virus to four hotel quarantine workers and two other residents at the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn.

It’s believed the nebuliser – which vaporises medication into a fine mist – caused fine aerosolised coronavirus particles to escape into the hotel corridor and infect workers and other residents.

In an interview with The Age, the 38-year-old said he had contacted the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care to request an independent review of his case as he doesn’t trust the state government anymore.

He told the newspaper he had also contacted federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, who also supports an independent investigation of the incident.

The man said he told Victorian health and quarantine authorities twice about the medical devices and was given permission to use it.

But the state government, chief health officer Brett Sutton and COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria commissioner Emma Cassar have all claimed they didn’t know about the device until they were alerted by Alfred Health days later.

“I don’t trust the state level of government anymore, they’ve really killed my trust in this system,” he told The Age on Wednesday.

“I was getting misinformation left, right and centre ever since we arrived at the first hotel.”

The returned traveller previously called on the state government and health authorities to contact him to get his version of events.

“I’ve seen the comments from Dan Andrews where he said we have the gold standard in Victoria of hotel quarantine,” he said in a message played on 3AW on Monday using a disguised voice.

“I think what really surprises me is the fact that nobody really from the Andrews government has tried to reach out and get my side of this story and understand.

“I expected the gold standard that you’d be trying to get facts from every single source, not just your own sources.”

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Wednesday he had not spoken to the man but wished him and his well in their recovery.

Ms Cassar said she had spoken at length with the traveller on Monday.

She said a review of the incident was being undertaken by the Victoria’s health department and Safer Care Victoria and would examine how the man was able to use a nebuliser in hotel quarantine.

“I apologised on Saturday for his treatment and the way this has been handled, absolutely, and I did it again on Monday,” she said.

But she said there was no history of a declaration that a nebuliser had been taken into the Holiday Inn by a returned traveller.

“I can categorically say that there is no evidence in our audit that he had raised this with our health team or our operational team,” Ms Cassar told reporters on Saturday.

The man’s infection resulted in him being hospitalised and he required treatment in intensive care.

The Age reported he has been discharged and is back in hotel quarantine with his family.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

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