Quarantine failure led to more than 18,000 infections and 700 deaths, inquiry hears

Sunil Kumar
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The Honourable Jennifer Coate AO speaks during opening statements for the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry in Melbourne, Australia, on July 20. James Ross/Pool/Getty Images

Failed quarantine measures in two hotels in the Australian state of Victoria lead to the deaths of 768 people and the infection of 18,418, according to closing submissions at the Covid-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry.

Ben Ihle, counsel, assisting at the Victorian inquiry, said that the hotel quarantine became a “seeding ground” for the virus, as authorities linked the massive Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria to the hotel cluster using genomic sequencing.

The failure by the hotel quarantine program to contain the virus is responsible for the deaths of 768 and infection of some 18,418 others. One only needs to pause and reflect on those figures to appreciate the full scope of the devastation and despair. This was a program that failed to meet its primary objective — to keep people safe from the virus,” Ilhe said Monday.

“On the 23rd May, Victoria’s Covid-19 death toll was 19. As of today, the total number of Covid related deaths in Victoria is 787,” Ilhe added.

The number of cases in the state has risen exponentially from June to the present day. “As of 15th June, Victoria had record 1,732 confirmed cases of Covid-19. As of today, that number 20,150,” Ilhe said.

The movement of the virus from the hotel cluster to the rest of the state was responsible for 99% of infections in the state, added Ilhe.



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