A “failure” in Victoria’s hotel quarantine program has led to the diversion of international flights for two weeks.
Premier Daniel Andrews said flights would be diverted while the program was reset under the supervision of Corrections Victoria, after it was revealed there was an “infection control breach”.
Mr Andrews said as a result of genomic testing, the state’s chief health officer informed him that a number of cases through late May and early June could be linked to the breach.
“Clearly there has been a failure in the operation of this program,” he said.
“To say I’m disappointed about what’s happened would be an understatement.”
Mr Andrews said he had established an inquiry, led by a former judge, into the operation of the program.
He also asked the Prime Minister to divert flights to other cites.
“I will have conversations with other state leaders to explain that and to thank them in advance of the extra load that they will carry,” he said.
“That is for the abundance of caution.”
Today’s flights will be the last to arrive in the state.
“The diversions are only into place in relation to those who would have gone in hotel quarantine,” Mr Andrews said.
“We are essentially saying we will not take any further hotel quarantine persons for the period of two weeks and that’s a function of both the announcements I have made today following the genomic testing and secondly I want all of our energies focused on dealing with the spike in cases and the lockdown.
“In some respects it stands to reason other states are not having to do the sort of door knocking and contact tracing and mass testing we are doing and I’m deeply grateful for them inevitably taking those few hundred people.
“I think we had 200 today. It is wildly variable. Some days it is none and other days a few hundred. I am grateful for them doing it.”
Victoria has recorded 64 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, continuing a trend of sharp daily increases.