Victoria records first quarantine case

Victoria has recorded its first overseas coronavirus case since its halted hotel quarantine program was allowed to start again.

Victoria’s revamped hotel quarantine system will be put under the test after reporting its first coronavirus case since the program resumed.

The state paused hosting returning travellers following an outbreak at the Meboure Airport Holiday Inn earlier in the year but it recommenced on Thursday.

COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria chief Emma Cassar said the new system was “as safe” as it could be.

“Yesterday there was one new case reported,” the state’s health department tweeted on Saturday.

“The case was acquired overseas and is in hotel quarantine.”

The infection was the first reported in Victoria since March 29, with no community transmission in 42 days.

Victoria banned international flights in mid-February after Premier Daniel Andrews announced a snap five-day lockdown.

The shutdown was prompted by a coronavirus outbreak linked to the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport, which saw the more virulent UK strain of the virus leak from the quarantine system and into the community.

Under the revamped system, all staff are to be vaccinated and testing rates for guests will be doubled to four times during the 14-day stay.

The Holiday Inn said it would also use an online QR system where contact tracing of hotel staff and their households could be pulled up “within 45 minutes”.

The state’s hotel quarantine failing was responsible for Melbourne’s destructive second wave last year which claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

But Ms Cassar assured the public “we have done everything we can to make this as safe as we can”.

“It isn’t a risk-proof program, we’ve been clear on that, but what we can do is ensure that we are … looking at the research and looking at what else we can do or other control measures that we need to put in place.”

Victoria’s Acting Police Minister Danny Pearson said 106 returned travellers would touch down from 4.30am on Thursday.

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

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