Private security guards are pulled from Melbourne quarantine hotel  

Private security guards have been pulled from a Melbourne quarantine hotel and replaced by police after a health worker raised fears about infection control breaches.

Guards employed by services company Spotless were sent home from the Novotel in Southbank half way through their shift on Wednesday.

The state government took action after an anonymous health worker at the hotel tipped off a local newspaper with claims that infection control protocols were not being followed.   

It comes just four months after the state’s deadly second wave of coronavirus – which has killed more than 750 people – started with outbreaks at two hotels. 

Private security guards have been pulled from a Melbourne quarantine hotel and replaced by police. Pictured: Cleaning staff at the hotel on Thursday

Private security guards have been pulled from a Melbourne quarantine hotel and replaced by police. Pictured: Cleaning staff at the hotel on Thursday

Guards employed by services company Spotless were sent home from the Novotel (pictured) in Southbank half way through their shift on Wednesday

Guards employed by services company Spotless were sent home from the Novotel (pictured) in Southbank half way through their shift on Wednesday

Guards employed by services company Spotless were sent home from the Novotel (pictured) in Southbank half way through their shift on Wednesday

‘I can see it happening all over again,’ the health worker told The Age.

‘When international flights start again we [Victoria] will be screwed.’ 

The worker claimed some Spotless staff accidentally entered rooms containing infected patients, made mistakes putting on and taking off protective gear and complained they were not trained well enough. 

‘I’m concerned about the practice of training brand new staff in a positive environment,’ she told the newspaper, calling it ‘very tight and unsafe’. 

‘They stuff up because they’ve never done a dry run of removing their PPE safely.

‘It’s so frustrating. I’m always telling new staff to keep their distance or clean their work stations.’ 

Melbourne is not accepting international travellers but hotel quarantine is still being used to isolate coronavirus patients who cannot isolate at home. 

The program was overhauled in July after the virus escaped from two quarantine hotels in May and June and spread rapidly around the city.

The deadly second wave sent Melbourne into Stage Four lockdown, with even regional Victoria suffering tight Stage Three restrictions.

Police and Protective Services Officers are seen in the foyer of the Novotel Melbourne South Wharf hotel in Melbourne on Thursday

Police and Protective Services Officers are seen in the foyer of the Novotel Melbourne South Wharf hotel in Melbourne on Thursday

Police and Protective Services Officers are seen in the foyer of the Novotel Melbourne South Wharf hotel in Melbourne on Thursday

A public inquiry into the blunder heard security guards did not socially distance or properly use protective gear.

Private security guards employed by Spotless have been used in the overhauled program as floor managers since July.  

The scheme is overseen by the Department of Justice and Community Safety which contracted Alfred Health to provide clinical services.

Alfred Health then subcontracted Spotless to provide cleaning from mid June and customer service, bag checking and floor monitoring since early July.

 Andrews must go – his toxic mix of arrogance and incompetence is destroying Victoria
Opposition leader Michael O’Brien 

It has now stopped providing all those services except the cleaning.

A Spotless spokesman told Daily Mail Australia that strict monitoring is in place to make sure staff adhere to infection control rules.

‘At Spotless, infection control is paramount and all Spotless staff who work on the program complete mandatory PPE and infection prevention induction training and regular refresher training,’ the spokesman said.

‘One of many additional controls in place includes a requirement that staff must provide a daily declaration that they have not worked at another site in the 14 days prior to commencing their shift.

‘Adherence to infection control requirements is routinely checked and verified by Spotless and Alfred Health.’

A justice department spokesman said Spotless floor monitors had been replaced by police on Wednesday.

The state government said nine hotel quarantine workers have caught the virus since July, including five Spotless employees. The government said they caught the virus away from the hotels. 

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien slammed the government for continuing to use private security guards. 

‘This hopeless Labor government has learnt nothing from its hotel quarantine scandal that’s already killed 781 Victorians,’ he wrote. 

‘They’re still using private guards not up to the task. Andrews must go – his toxic mix of arrogance and incompetence is destroying Victoria.’

‘Infection control is paramount’: Full response from Spotless 

Spotless, through our long-standing relationship with Alfred Health, was requested to provide High Touch Point Cleaning and Pathogen cleaning to the Hotel Program in Mid-June 2020. 

Having successfully and safely mobilised these services within the Hotel Program, Spotless was requested to provide additional resourcing to the program in various roles including Customer Service Officers, Bag Checking and Floor Monitoring since early July 2020.

Spotless continues to support Alfred Health and DJCS on the Hotel program with our core services of High Touch Point cleaning and pathogen cleaning. 

Spotless is fully committed to supporting this very important community initiative to keep the community and our workforce safe. Spotless employees deliver these services and subcontractors are not used.

At Spotless, infection control is paramount and all Spotless staff who work on the program complete mandatory PPE and infection prevention induction training and regular refresher training. 

One of many additional controls in place includes a requirement that staff must provide a daily declaration that they have not worked at another site in the 14 days prior to commencing their shift.

Adherence to infection control requirements is routinely checked and verified by Spotless and Alfred Health. 

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