Could better paid quarantine workers in hotels better protect Australia from COVID-19?



A leading epidemiologist argued that hotel quarantine workers should be paid more so that they did not work in another job and were not at risk of coronavirus infection.

He highlights the key difference in approach between South Australia as it enters the second day of locking, and Victoria, who is recovering from her own.

Quarantined workers in South Australia will be allowed to continue working in more places, despite the latest outbreak of COVID-19, which the authorities believe has been extended by a media hotel security guard who also works in a pizzeria.

The chairwoman of epidemiology at Deakin University, Professor Catherine Bennett, said governments must consider preventing hotel workers from working in more and more places.

And to do that, she said, you have to pay more.

“Workplaces are one of the high-risk areas outside the home,” she said

A woman with brown curly hair and glasses smiles at the camera.
Professor Bennett says that employees working in a hotel quarantine should be paid more to secure exclusive employment contracts.(Supplied)

She said the reward must be “part of the conversation.”

“If we can get the right to a reward … it supports the idea that it is an exclusive contract so that people can support themselves,” said Professor Bennett.

Hotel quarantine key to the outbreak of SA

The copper-hotel scheme in South Australia has been scrutinized as the state faces an unprecedented lock to control a coronavirus cluster that has emerged from Pepper’s Hotel in the CBD in Adelaide.

Medical authorities believe that the hotel’s maid unknowingly infected the coronaviruses from the hard surface and then extended her to two security guards at the hotel and more than a dozen members of her family.

Hotel at night
The hotel cleaner caught coronaviruses and later infected two guards and family members.(ABC News: Eugene Boisvert)

One of the security guards at the hotel worked at the Woodville Pizzeria.

Anyone who has visited the store or taken food or delivery for 10 days is now asked to quarantine for a coronavirus test after another worker in a separate quarantine hotel has been diagnosed with COVID-19 after ordering pizza from the venue. .

Earlier this month, during an investigation into Victoria’s problematic quarantine system, every effort was made to “ensure that all staff working at the facility do not work in multiple quarantine facilities and do not work in other forms of employment”.

South Australia has also banned care workers from working in various facilities to stop the spread of coronaviruses.

Commissioner SA rejects a single workplace for hotel staff

Asked whether the South Australian authorities had considered the recommendations of the Victorian investigation, the South Australian police commissioner shuddered.

“You expect people who work in a quarantine hotel to be isolated in a complete bubble from the rest of the community while providing this service,” Grant Stevens told reporters.

A close-up shot of Police Commissioner Grant Stevens in his police uniform at a press conference in July 2020.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens says expectations that media hotel workers will be isolated are disproportionate.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

“They have to meet lives and obligations, they have to pay mortgages, they have to pay more bills, and that’s simply a necessity so that we can meet our obligations under the national commitment to return Australians who want to return [from overseas]. “

A new cluster in South Australia has encouraged the introduction of mandatory weekly COVID tests for quarantine hotel staff.

Victoria is trying to reduce the quarantine workforce

Daniel Andrews said his government would soon reveal details of a “reset” of the Victoria’s hotel quarantine system, which was suspended during the state’s outbreak.

Daniel Andrews announces changes in people's visits to their homes
Victoria will introduce a rule that will prevent hotel quarantine workers from working elsewhere.(News Video)

“Everyone who works in this program will either work for the Victorian government or will be locked up for this purpose only and for this purpose only,” he said.

“We will continue to monitor contacts with each person who works in this program to find out who they live with, what these people live on.

“We don’t want a situation where someone shares a house with an old caregiver. We think that would be an unacceptable risk. “


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