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The secret report into origin of Melbourne’s coronavirus explosion

REVEALED: The secret report into the origin of Melbourne’s coronavirus explosion which is being kept under wraps

  • Report mapping origins of second wave not disclosed by Victorian government
  • Melbourne’s Doherty Institute using genomic data to explain city’s case surge 
  • Genomic sequencing will show how many people infected by hotel outbreak
  • Institute has said data will not be publicly available until inquiry reports findings
  • Premier Daniel Andrews launched inquiry – due to report in September – on July 2

A key report mapping the origins of Melbourne’s COVID-19 second wave is being kept secret by the Victorian government.

The Doherty Institute has been using genomic sequencing to explain how the infection rate has surged in Australia’s second most populated city.

The world-renowned Melbourne-based research centre is also leading a consortium of scientists in Australia trying to find a vaccine for the virus.

But the institute has revealed the raw data from the sequencing will not be released until after it has been used in a judicial inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine program. 

A masked pedestrian in Melbourne’s CBD on Thursday. One of Australia’s leading coronavirus research centres has said it will not be releasing its report mapping the origins of the city’s second wave until the data is used in an upcoming judicial inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine program

‘The latest data is subject to the judicial inquiry and it’s not appropriate to discuss publicly until it’s gone through that process,’ a spokeswoman for the Doherty Institute said. 

Genomic sequencing tracks slight mutations in the virus as it passes from human to human to give a more detailed understanding of its spread. 

Mr Andrews announced he was launching an inquiry into the state’s quarantine program on July 2 – after allegations emerged of under-trained staff, inadequate personal protective equipment, billing rorts by private security contractors and even claims that some security guards slept with guests.

The inquiry is scheduled to deliver its report in September. 

The data would show the number of people who have contracted the deadly respiratory illness from outbreaks which began in hotel quarantine.

Victoria’s chief medical officer Brett Sutton said on Tuesday the decision to release the data was for the institute to make – not the state government.   

Mr Andrews announced he was launching an inquiry into the state's quarantine program on July 2 after allegations emerged of under-trained staff, private security contractors billing the government for shifts that were not worked and even security guards having sex with guests

Mr Andrews announced he was launching an inquiry into the state’s quarantine program on July 2 after allegations emerged of under-trained staff, private security contractors billing the government for shifts that were not worked and even security guards having sex with guests

Pictured: Staff inside Melbourne's Stamford Hotel on June 25. The institute's report will be used in a judicial inquiry investigating how the state government supplied hotels with security guards to enforce its quarantine program

Pictured: Staff inside Melbourne’s Stamford Hotel on June 25. The institute’s report will be used in a judicial inquiry into the supply of security guards by the government for Victoria’s hotel quarantine program

‘It’s not my genome sequencing data, it belongs to Peter Doherty Institute,’ he said.

‘It’s not my call to keep it under wraps. I don’t have an opinion on it. I’m very happy to speak about it if I’m asked about it in the judicial inquiry.

Professor Sutton said on Monday he would not rule out all the cases in Victoria’s second COVID-19 spike originating from hotel outbreaks. 

This map shows the places in Melbourne that are suffering from outbreaks as the state's second wave gets worse

This map shows the places in Melbourne that are suffering from outbreaks as the state’s second wave gets worse

Justice Coate will look into allegations that infection control protocols were breached at the quarantine hotels.

The inquiry will probe decisions and actions by the government, hotel operators and private contractors, as well as the training of staff.

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien has previously claimed the hotel quarantine program had been a complete and utter debacle, and demanded the sacking of Health Minister Jenny Mikakos.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk