Snarky Dan Andrews refuses to answer questions about nebuliser which sparked new Covid cluster and passes the buck to his quarantine boss instead – leaving her to be GRILLED over the debacle
- CQV’s Emma Cassar grilled on Saturday over Holiday Inn Melbourne outbreak
- Ms Cassar denied reports quarantine staff were told about a guest’s nebuliser
- The device, which vaporises medication, is thought to have caused the cluster
- Victoria has gone into a snap five day lockdown in response to the new cases
- The 38-year-old man used device to treat his asthma and is now in ICU
- Premier Daniel Andrews directed media questions about nebuliser to Ms Cassar
Embattled Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has been accused of throwing the hotel quarantine chief under the bus by refusing to answer questions about the state’s latest outbreak, forcing her to take the stand and be grilled by reporters.
Emma Cassar, who runs the state’s hotel quarantine program, fielded questions on the premier’s behalf at a later press conference, after Mr Andrews refused to say whether a 38-year-old father was given permission to use a nebuliser linked to Holiday Inn outbreak.
The father, who is now in ICU with his partner and young daughter also testing positive to Covid, claims he twice told staff he had the device which they allowed him to keep.
Chief of CQV Emma Cassar (pictured) was grilled by media over whether a 38-year-old father was given permission to use a nebuliser linked to Holiday Inn outbreak
A deserted Melbourne CBD on Saturday (pictured) as the city begins a five day Stage Four lockdown to allow contact tracers to get ahead of a cluster stemming from the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport
‘I’ve seen those reports. That’s not consistent with the normal practice that’s followed but I can confirm the head of CQV will be out later today … she’ll be able to answer any of those questions,’ Mr Andrews said on Saturday.
Ms Cassar had previously said the man did not report the nebuliser to the hotel and that Mr Andrews himself suggested the man might not have been aware the nebuliser wasn’t allowed.
Speaking on Saturday afternoon Ms Cassar said protocols had been reviewed to make it clearer that these devices are not allowed in hotel quarantine.
‘There is no evidence he has raised this with our health team or our operational team,’ Ms Cassar said.
‘We don’t check bags but that is not our recollection [that he had permission].’
Dan Andrews (pictured) refused to answer questions on Saturday surrounding the 38-year-old man who used the nebuliser to treat his asthma
Ms Cassar said hotel quarantine guests were thoroughly questioned upon arrival.
‘When someone arrives in the first 12 hours they are questioned about medical history and devices they may use …all bags are scanned through Melbourne airport.’
When asked if she felt like she had been put on the spot by Daniel Andrews, Ms Cassar said she took responsibility for her team.
‘This is my agency. I don’t feel like I’ve been thrown under the bus,’ she said.
‘We have done our audits and reviews. I can’t explain the difference in information … this was not anyone’s fault, noone did this maliciosuly or deliberately.’
‘The first time we heard about this was notification from the Alfred Hospital.’
Ms Cassar has restated her agency has not accused the man of anything and said she is deeply sorry for the man’s treatment and the way information regarding the nebuliser surfaced.
The Australian Open (pictured) has been given the greenlight to continue under Melbourne’s Stage Four lockdown, however, crowds are barred from the event
A cafe remains open on Saturday morning in Melbourne (pictured) but sits empty as city residents adhere to stay-at-home orders
Another case was reported on Saturday linked to the Holiday Inn (pictured) cluster bringing the number of confirmed cases to 14
The entire state of Victoria was plunged into lockdown from 11.59pm on Friday in response to an outbreak at Melbourne Airport’s Holiday Inn, which has grown to 14 cases.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Saturday that the latest case detected late on Friday is a friend of a Holiday Inn worker – with 38 of the man’s close contacts having been notified and are now isolating.
Officially, the lockdown is due to end at 11.59pm on Wednesday, but a clause in the health directive states the ‘stay safe period’ will end at 11.59pm on February 26 – two weeks away.
When asked about the issue on Saturday afternoon health officials insisted the lockdown would end in five days, subject to the Chief Health Officer’s advice.
Melbourne residents are subject to Stage Four lockdowns until Wednesday night, only being allowed to leave their houses for essential reasons (pictured: two women skateboard at Port Melbourne Beach on Saturday)
Melbourne residents are under stay-at-home orders but venturing outside for exercise is allowed (pictured: Melburnians at Albert Park Lake on Saturday)
NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR VICTORIA FROM 11.59PM ON FRIDAY FEB 12
From Friday February 12 at 11.59pm, new rules apply to Victoria for five days until 11.59pm on Wednesday February 17 due to a worrying new outbreak of the UK mutant strain of Covid-19.
- Stage Four lockdown for the entire state
- Only four essential reasons to leave the house – essential shopping, essential work/education, care-giving or two hours of exercise per day
- All residents must stay within 5km of their home other than essential work or shopper
- Outdoor exercise must be with your household, intimate partner or one other person not from your household
- Mandatory masks everywhere except your home
- No visitors to anyone’s home
- All non-essential shops will be closed
- Public gatherings banned
- Work from home
- Schools closed except for vulnerable children
- Places of worship closed
- Weddings banned
- Funerals capped at 10 people
- Community spaces including swimming pools and libraries closed