World news – Virus debacle: Report points finger at Dan

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Daniel Andrews « approved » the controversial decision to hire private security guards in Victoria’s first hotel quarantine program, according to a new report.

The report of the Committee on Public Finance and Estimates (PAEC), written by opposition MPs and tabled in parliament on Tuesday, found that the decision on the use of private security forces was made by the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The report also states that the decision was « most likely » made by Prime Minister Daniel Andrews’ secretary, Chris Eccles.

« We also think that the Prime Minister approved this decision, as he himself made statements on March 27, 2020, » the report said.

Tuesday’s report also found that genome testing « has shown that 99 percent of the second wave of COVID-19 cases in Victoria are due to the hotel quarantine program outbreak ».

The PAEC, made up of Labor and Liberal MPs, held a series of hearings over the past year asking ministers, stakeholders and industry representatives on how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report revealed that « ministers regularly avoid answering questions » and accused the chairman of the working committee of « making incredible efforts to interrupt the interview ».

The report also found that the Labor leader « would waste time or even mute non-government members’ microphones on matters ministers were sensitive to ».

The report concluded that given the « shortcomings of this committee and the limitations of the quarantine investigation at the Coate Hotel, we believe that nothing less than a royal commission is required to properly question the Andrews Labor government and Victoria’s response to it. » Implementing the COVID-19 pandemic under the microscope « .

The report was written by PAEC Vice-Chair Richard Riordan, Evelyn MP Bridget Vallence, Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien and Southeast Metropolitan MP David Limbrick.

A Victorian government spokesman slammed the report, saying it was « a partisan minority Liberal report that sought to undermine Victoria’s response to the pandemic ».

« We listened to the experts and supported the science in which the Victorians did what no other jurisdiction in the world did – defeated a second wave, » they said.

« There is no playbook for this pandemic – but we’ve learned the lessons and acted. Our hotel quarantine and contact tracking systems are now world leaders, protecting Victorians.

The quarantine investigation of the COVID-19 hotel, led by retired Judge Jennifer Coate, searched 70,000 documents but failed to determine who made the decision to hire private security guards.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews launched this investigation to investigate flaws in the quarantine program that triggered Victoria’s deadly second wave of coronavirus transmissions, killing 801 people.

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