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Business

AstraZeneca boss says transparency key for vaccine


The pause of the trial prompted global calls for more transparency on how COVID-19 vaccines are developed.

Mr Soriot, who is also a director of CSL, said he understood the desire for that transparency but that the integrity of trials also had to be protected. “We are looking at how much transparency we can provide considering we are in a very special set of circumstances,” he said.

AstraZeneca was working with other vaccine makers to discuss how open they could be about their studies without compromising the data they were collecting, Mr Soriot said.

It was also critical that citizens trusted that vaccines would be reviewed by several global regulators before being commercialised. “At the end of the day, people have to accept that they have to trust someone at some point,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson's chief scientific officer Dr Paul Stoffels.

Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientific officer Dr Paul Stoffels.

“You are going to have several sets of eyes from different countries looking at this.”

He cautioned medicine should not be practiced “by the media” but by experts reviewing the facts.

AstraZeneca is conducting its phase 3 trial of the Oxford vaccine and it is hoped that it could be available, including in Australia, in the first months of 2021 if successful. Mr Soirot said the distribution of the vaccine would be the next logistical challenge for manufacturers who managed a successful product. “One thing people tend to forget is that you need results, but also you need manufacturing,” he said.

Chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson, Paul Stoffels, who was also on the panel, said Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine project could be ready for emergency use at the very start of next year should its phase 3 trial be successful.

Mr Stoffels warned the company wanted enough data to ensure safety before it moved forward, however, and that the rollout may take some months.



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Local News - Victoria

Government moves to withhold key curfew advice in legal challenge


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In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Monday, Dr Giles said she made the decision to continue the curfew policy because, according to information she received, “the reduction of case numbers was due to the stage four restrictions being imposed”.

Lawyers acting for Ms Loielo sought access to the information in order to challenge Ms Giles’ conclusions.

But lawyers acting for the state told the court the Andrews government intended to withhold the documents that Dr Giles used to make the decision by invoking public interest immunity.

On Monday, Justice Ginnane will decide whether the government has the right to invoke the immunity over the files, meaning they won’t have to hand them over to Ms Loielo’s lawyers.

Lawyers for the government told the court on Tuesday that they may provide the information in the form of a sworn affidavit instead.

The government has said previously the curfew will remain in place until October 26, or until Melbourne reaches a 14-day average of five cases per day. The curfew came into effect on August 2.

Put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, the curfew was initially in force between 8pm and 5am but was moved back to 9pm on September 14.

The government’s decision to impose the curfew came into focus after Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton both said it was not their idea.

An affidavit filed by Ms Loielo said she feels “helpless” in the face of ongoing restrictions and fears that seeing the revenue of her business, Unica Cucina E Caffe, in Capel Sound on the Mornington Peninsula, drop by an estimated 99 per cent may result in her losing her house.



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Brett Sutton tells hotel inquiry he did not know security guards had a key role


“My team and I did not have oversight in relation to infection prevention and control personnel and processes in place at each hotel,” he said.

Professor Sutton’s deputy, Annaliese van Diemen, said in her evidence that “everybody has responsibility in some way, shape or form”, prompting a query from Arthur Moses, QC, the counsel for security guard company Unified: “Are you trying to blame others?”

Former deputy chief health officer Annaliese van Diemen.

Former deputy chief health officer Annaliese van Diemen.Credit:The Age

Dr van Diemen had earlier warned that the hotel quarantine program was being run as a “logistics or compliance exercise” rather than a health program, meaning she “lost the opportunity” to know if infection control measures, including the use of protective gear, were adhered to in the hotels.

Private security guards, many working as casual subcontractors at the Rydges on Swanston hotel in Carlton and the CBD’s Stamford Plaza, spread the virus from returned travellers into the wider community. Professor Sutton told the inquiry that, “with the benefit of hindsight”, the use of such an insecure workforce was unfortunate.

“I can see that using a highly casualised workforce, generally from a lower socio-economic background, where that means that poor leave provisions, limit how one can care for and financially support one’s family if unwell,” he said.

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Many of the staff guarding the hotels combined multiple jobs “across different industries to maintain an adequate income, creating transmission risk”, Professor Sutton said. Guards also often came from relatively larger families and larger networks of friends, “which creates additional transmission risks should they become unwell”.

The evidence came as Premier Daniel Andrews, who set up the $3 million inquiry, once again declined to comment on accusations that he lied to Parliament by saying in August that soldiers working in hotel quarantine in other states had not been offered to Victoria. Mr Andrews will appear before the inquiry next week.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos was also quizzed in State Parliament on Wednesday about whether she was aware of the offer by Canberra to deploy the army in quarantine hotels.

“I was not aware of any offers of Australian Defence Force support when hotel quarantine was established,” she said. “I’ve not been involved in approving the structures or the operational plan of this program.”

Professor Sutton told the inquiry that there had been instances where security staff in hotels did not appear to trust the information provided to them about infection control. “In particular about how to wear PPE gear, and the use of hand sanitiser, in particular … concerns about using an alcohol-based sanitiser”.

This hand sanitiser concern was also included in notes from the manager of Your Nursing Agency, the company employed to supply nursing staff to quarantine hotels. In mid-June, the company’s manager noted that security guards had informed the agency “they were concerned about using hand sanitiser because it is against their religion”.

The same notes said the registered nurse working at one hotel “raised a complaint of a lack of infection control awareness and [the] sense that security were disinterested in use of PPE”.

The nurse reported “security staff had masks under their noses, were not removing gloves and even going to the bathroom with gloves on”. The nurse told the nursing agency that “something needs to be done with security to keep everyone safe”.

The inquiry heard that an email sent by Deputy Public Health Commander Dr Finn Romanes, a former deputy chief health officer, warned on April 9 of “a lack of a unified plan for this program”. This warning, made just two weeks after the hotel program began, said there was “considerable risk” that unless issues were addressed there would be a risk to the health and safety of detainees.

Dr Romanes requested an urgent governance review of the program and said it needed a clear leader and direct line of accountability. Professor Sutton said he backed Dr Romanes’ email. “Dr Romanes was acting on behalf of me,” he said.

It also emerged at the inquiry that the deputy state controller Chris Eagle – who was coordinating information between the agencies involved in hotel quarantine – was warned the day after the hotels program began that there needed to be a proper police presence.

The Department of Jobs Precincts and Region’s executive director of Priority Projects, Claire Febey, warned Mr Eagle after a highly agitated guest quarantining at the Crown Metropole left his room and went to the ground floor foyer for a cigarette that better security was needed.

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“We strongly recommend that private security is not adequate given they have no powers to exercise. Can you please escalate our request for a permanent police presence at each hotel,” she wrote.

Chief Commissioner Shane Patton and his predecessor, Graham Ashton, will appear before the inquiry on Thursday.

Dr van Diemen said that, before the hotels program began in March, health officials considered quarantining returned travellers at home using electronic surveillance to keep them secure.

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Victorian state schools told not to press parents into paying for key learning materials


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Parental payments for some excursions and online subscriptions to learning tools such as Reading Eggs have been categorised as “essential student learning” items for which schools cannot compel parents to pay.

School principals have been briefed on the parent payments policy in recent weeks.

They were told of multiple cases in which schools had incorrectly charged families for non-curricular items including padlocks and magazines, events such as sports carnivals, graduations and barbecues, and guest speakers and school nurses.

Julie Podbury, president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Principals Federation, said the policy overlooked the reality that schools rely on parental contributions to make up for inadequate government funding.

She said the union had been inundated with feedback from state school principals concerned the policy would make it harder to cover staffing costs in areas such as IT and student wellbeing, and to pay for equipment in fields such as science and sports.

“No school is going to hit up any family for money they don’t have,” Ms Podbury said. “Schools are very empathic when it comes to looking after their families and are deeply aware of the difficult financial circumstances that some families find themselves in.”

But Ms Podbury said state schools had always relied on local fundraising and parental fees to deliver a full education.

“We just need parents to understand that if they can afford to support the school financially they must continue to do so, because schools rely on additional funds to meet the funding shortfall,” she said.

Victorian schools receive the least government funding per student compared with other states and territories, although an extra $7.2 billion is being added between 2019 and 2023.

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Parents who send their children to Victorian government schools pay more in fees and contributions than anywhere else in Australia.

Data from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority shows government schools in Victoria received $431.73 million from fees and parental contributions in 2018, the most recent year reported, equating to $697 per student.

This was well above the national average of $490 per student.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said the parent payment guidelines “were recently refreshed to give schools and families further clarity, consistency and transparency”.

“There has been no change to the policy,” he said.

Gail McHardy, executive officer of Parents Victoria, said many parents who previously had the income to contribute to schools’ fundraising efforts were in a worse financial position this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We support principals being able to deliver a quality service but they need to be very mindful that you don’t transfer the responsibility onto the community when the community is already hurting,” Ms McHardy said.

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Return to classroom delayed so key GAT exam can go ahead without a hitch



Long treated as a joke by many VCE students, the General Achievement Test has become so crucial this year it has delayed the return to face-to-face classes.



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The AFL grand final at the Gabba is only weeks away. Here are the key things you need to know


The AFL’s decision has been confirmed and the grand final is heading to Brisbane, but there is a bit to work through before the big day.

While the date and destination may be locked in, how the grand final and all its surrounding pageantry will look is still up in the air, as is the make-up of the finals in the lead-up.

Here are some of the more interesting points to come out of the big announcement that the Gabba will be hosting the AFL grand final on October 24.

Will this be the first-ever night grand final?

It sure will.

Exactly what time the game will start is yet to be determined, with a few factors — like the running of the Cox Plate and the fact Queensland does not have daylight savings while the rest of the east coast does — still to be worked through.

Chief executive Gillon McLachlan said on Wednesday the game would not start any earlier than 5:30pm in Brisbane — that’s 6:30pm in Melbourne — but would more likely be later.

Making a move to a night grand final has been a hot topic in AFL circles for years, but it has taken such unprecedented circumstances for the switch to finally be made.

McLachlan also called the switch to a night grand final a “historic first”, one which gives the league “an opportunity to make it a truly unique event”.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announces this year’s grand final will be played at the Gabba.

What sort of crowd will be allowed in?

McLachlan said the grand final will be played before a crowd of at least 30,000 people.

AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld echoed that later in the day, saying the AFL was “extremely confident we’ll get that 30,000 on October 24”.

So far this season, the Gabba has not been able to get close to that mark, with crowds capped at less than 15,000. The AFL says it has the ability to reduce crowd numbers should the COVID-19 situation make 30,000 unreachable.

What if Queensland is no longer a suitable option?

Should there be a significant coronavirus outbreak or some other reason that prevents the Gabba from playing host, Adelaide Oval is lined up as the AFL’s backup plan.

A young Brisbane Lions fan waves a flag as he smiles in the stands at the Gabba next to two adults.
The plan is for a crowd of at least 30,000 people at the grand final.(AAP: Darren England)

McLachlan, though, was eager to stress that a move to Adelaide would only be as a last resort.

“It is not something we are contemplating, but I think it is prudent of us to have, incumbent upon us to have that backup plan,” he said.

How will finals work?

The AFL is still working through this too, but we know a few things for sure — one of which being that Western Australia will not be able to host a preliminary final, should the Eagles earn a home one.

McLachlan said the requirement for teams to spend seven days in quarantine upon arrival means only the first week of finals — which will come after a bye week — is a viable option. That same quarantine requirement is also what quashed WA’s grand final bid, he said.

Port Adelaide, on the other hand, will not face the same impediment, with McLachlan confirming South Australia will be able to host a potential preliminary final.

There is the possibility that teams who have earned a home final but can not play it in their home state may be able to take it to its choice of ground — say, should West Coast want to play a ‘home” prelim at Adelaide Oval rather than in Queensland — but that is yet to be confirmed.

The league says it will sort out details about finals in the coming days.

Will there be a Brownlow Medal ceremony?

That’s another one that’s on the AFL’s list to sort out soon, but Auld suggested it was a possibility to go ahead in some form.

Brisbane Lions players run on to the field as fireworks, flame and smoke surround their entrance
A “festival of football” is being planned for Queensland during grand final week.(AAP: Darren England)

“We’ve talked about the Brownlow, we just need to think about how we do that,” he said.

“Like everything else this year, we have to think about things differently, we have to work out whether we run it as an event.”

What about a grand final parade, or something like that?

According to McLachlan, Queensland can brace for a “festival of football” that will extend beyond Brisbane “from Far North Queensland to the Gold Coast”.

“Part of that festival will see the premiership cup come to regional Queensland centres and a series of activities for kids and fans of the football season, so across Queensland, as many as possible in the state can enjoy the game,” he said.

Again, the finer details remain to be determined but it seems like Queenslanders can expect some sort of grand final fun come late October.



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AFL’s Gabba grand final is only weeks away. Here are the key things you need to know


The AFL’s decision has been confirmed and the grand final is heading to Brisbane, but there is a bit to work through before the big day.

While the date and destination may be locked in, how the grand final and all its surrounding pageantry will look is still up in the air, as is the make-up of the finals in the lead-up.

Here are some of the more interesting points to come out of the big announcement that the Gabba will be hosting the AFL grand final on October 24.

Will this be the first-ever night grand final?

It sure will.

Exactly what time the game will start is yet to be determined, with a few factors — like the running of the Cox Plate and the fact Queensland does not have daylight savings while the rest of the east coast does — still to be worked through.

Chief executive Gillon McLachlan said on Wednesday the game would not start any earlier than 5:30pm in Brisbane — that’s 6:30pm in Melbourne — but would more likely be later.

Making a move to a night grand final has been a hot topic in AFL circles for years, but it has taken such unprecedented circumstances for the switch to finally be made.

McLachlan also called the switch to a night grand final a “historic first”, one which gives the league “an opportunity to make it a truly unique event”.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announces this year’s grand final will be played at the Gabba.

What sort of crowd will be allowed in?

McLachlan said the grand final will be played before a crowd of at least 30,000 people.

AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld echoed that later in the day, saying the AFL was “extremely confident we’ll get that 30,000 on October 24”.

So far this season, the Gabba has not been able to get close to that mark, with crowds capped at less than 15,000. The AFL says it has the ability to reduce crowd numbers should the COVID-19 situation make 30,000 unreachable.

What if Queensland is no longer a suitable option?

Should there be a significant coronavirus outbreak or some other reason that prevents the Gabba from playing host, Adelaide Oval is lined up as the AFL’s backup plan.

A young Brisbane Lions fan waves a flag as he smiles in the stands at the Gabba next to two adults.
The plan is for a crowd of at least 30,000 people at the grand final.(AAP: Darren England)

McLachlan, though, was eager to stress that a move to Adelaide would only be as a last resort.

“It is not something we are contemplating, but I think it is prudent of us to have, incumbent upon us to have that backup plan,” he said.

How will finals work?

The AFL is still working through this too, but we know a few things for sure — one of which being that Western Australia will not be able to host a preliminary final, should the Eagles earn a home one.

McLachlan said the requirement for teams to spend seven days in quarantine upon arrival means only the first week of finals — which will come after a bye week — is a viable option. That same quarantine requirement is also what quashed WA’s grand final bid, he said.

Port Adelaide, on the other hand, will not face the same impediment, with McLachlan confirming South Australia will be able to host a potential preliminary final.

There is the possibility that teams who have earned a home final but can not play it in their home state may be able to take it to its choice of ground — say, should West Coast want to play a ‘home” prelim at Adelaide Oval rather than in Queensland — but that is yet to be confirmed.

The league says it will sort out details about finals in the coming days.

Will there be a Brownlow Medal ceremony?

That’s another one that’s on the AFL’s list to sort out soon, but Auld suggested it was a possibility to go ahead in some form.

Brisbane Lions players run on to the field as fireworks, flame and smoke surround their entrance
A “festival of football” is being planned for Queensland during grand final week.(AAP: Darren England)

“We’ve talked about the Brownlow, we just need to think about how we do that,” he said.

“Like everything else this year, we have to think about things differently, we have to work out whether we run it as an event.”

What about a grand final parade, or something like that?

According to McLachlan, Queensland can brace for a “festival of football” that will extend beyond Brisbane “from Far North Queensland to the Gold Coast”.

“Part of that festival will see the premiership cup come to regional Queensland centres and a series of activities for kids and fans of the football season, so across Queensland, as many as possible in the state can enjoy the game,” he said.

Again, the finer details remain to be determined but it seems like Queenslanders can expect some sort of grand final fun come late October.



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Bain offers unions key advisory role in Virgin reboot


Virgin Australia’s presumptive owner Bain Capital has extended an olive branch to the airline’s unions in the form of a workers’ advisory council that will consult on how the carrier is relaunched from administration.

The establishment of the body made up of three union representatives, Bain and Virgin chief executive Paul Scurrah follows a union revolt over the US private equity firm’s choice of directors to oversee Virgin.

Virgin creditors, owed $6.8 billion, will vote on the ownership transfer to Bain this Friday.

Virgin creditors, owed $6.8 billion, will vote on the ownership transfer to Bain this Friday.Credit:Getty Images

In a letter sent to unions on Sunday, Bain’s local boss Mike Murphy said he agreed to the unions’ request to establish a union advisory council, which will meet every fortnight until the end of the year.

“We see this confidential forum as an important opportunity to discuss key matters that go to the heart of Virgin’s recovery, including how we can secure long lasting employment for as many Virgin people as possible,” he said.



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CSL boss warns of key unknowns on vaccine


CSL chief executive Paul Perreault has said there are still major unknowns about what a successful COVID-19 vaccine would look like, including whether multiple doses or booster shots would need to be factored into production.

“We don’t know yet — but I would say many of the vaccine manufacturers are looking at the dosing regimen,” Mr Perreault said on a call to discuss CSL’s 2020 financial results on Wednesday morning.

“I would say the general population, just like those of us on the research and development side, should be prepared for pretty much anything at this point. It could be one shot, or a series of two shots — that’s yet to be determined.”

Samples from coronavirus vaccine trials are handled inside the Oxford Vaccine Group laboratory on June 25.

Samples from coronavirus vaccine trials are handled inside the Oxford Vaccine Group laboratory on June 25.Credit:

The Australian government has positioned the $133 billion biotech giant as the key to local production of a successful coronavirus vaccine. CSL has been in discussions with the government and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca around the potential licensing or production of the University of Oxford’s vaccine product, which is considered the leading global candidate.



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Inquiry hears key evidence on hotel quarantine bungle


For weeks, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews had declined to release the secret report by virus hunters into how many of the state’s COVID-19 cases were directly linked to returning travellers in the hotel quarantine scheme.

Even the state’s chief medical officer Brett Sutton insisted the research, funded by taxpayers, could not be released until it was considered by a judicial inquiry into the program.

“It’s not my genome sequencing data, it belongs to Peter Doherty Institute,’’ Professor Sutton 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.”

On Monday afternoon, it was finally unveiled, along with the reasons why the Victorian Government may have wished it to remain under wraps as Melbourne was subjected to an unprecedented curfew and lockdown.

Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID-19 that has infected thousands of Australians and killed over 100 people, can now be directly tracked back to a small group of returning travellers who entered hotel quarantine in May.

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WHAT IS GENOME RESEARCH?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, genomic sequencing has been used alongside more traditional contact tracing and interviews with infected patients.

A genome is an organism’s complete set of genes or genetic material. Scientists can track the virus as it infects people through mutations in the virus.

Mutations in the genetic code of the virus “essentially act as a passport stamp” allowing scientists to trace back where the virus came from.

CAN SCIENTISTS LINK THE SECOND WAVE TO HOTEL QUARANTINE?

In his witness statement to the inquiry, the Doherty Institute’s infectious disease expert Ben Howden was at pains to make clear that while he could link “99 per cent” of cases to returning travellers he could not definitively blame hotel quarantine.

To do that, he needed to marry that genomic information with other contact tracing about the outbreak and interviews with infected people.

But Professor Howden noted the Victorian Health Department does have that information. Health officials are expected to give evidence on this issue next week.

In his statement, Professor Howden responded to a number of questions including the following:

– How many clusters and what proportion of cases were linked to quarantine travellers in the hotel quarantine program?

– What proportion of cases were linked to private security staff at those sites? What proportion of cases were linked to other staff in the hotel quarantine program? What were your findings in relation to onward transmission of infection from staff in the hotel quarantine program to persons in the community? Where did these cases occur?

– Based on these findings, to what extent was the increase in the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Victoria attributable to quarantined travellers or staff in the hotel quarantine program spreading the virus to the broader Victorian community?

– If that spread of the COVID-19 virus was attributable to quarantined travellers or staff in the hotel quarantine program, what do your findings suggest about whether the sources of that spread included all staff in all roles, at all sites – or whether the sources of spread were specific to: (a) certain individual quarantined travellers; (b) certain individual staff; (c) staff in specific roles (eg security staff); (d) staff at particular sites?

In response, Professor Howden said this was beyond the scope of the genomic testing alone.

“To answer each of the above questions in the terms asked requires the addition of epidemiological data,’’ he said.

“This epidemiological data is not held by the (Doherty Institute). I believe it is held by the Department.”

As a result, Professor Howden said he “does not and cannot make findings of the kind referred to in these questions.”

RELATED: Virus experts testify at hotel quarantine inquiry

MYSTERY REMAINS OVER HOW IT SPREAD

The crucial exchange shows the scientist saying the genomic research doesn’t tell you how the virus jumped from those returning travellers into the community.

Did security guards become infected and spread it to friends and families in Melbourne’s suburbs before they discovered they were infected?

Is it possible the travellers themselves spread it in the community when travelling to and from hotel quarantine?

And was the real ‘patient zero’ not a security guard employed by the Victorian Government but the night duty manager at the hotel?

As Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has previously said, the genomic testing reveals cases that are linked but not the sequence of infections.

“Sometimes the first case that’s notified to us is not the first case in an outbreak,” Professor Sutton said.

“Sometimes the first person who develops symptoms is not the first person who’s been exposed. So it is tricky in that regard.”

VIRUS HUNTERS’ SECRET REPORT

The infections are tracked in graphs that tell the story of how Melbourne’s COVID clusters were all but extinguished in May as the existing strains died out.

In one graph, the cases acquired from overseas are marked as orange dots. From a handful of orange cases in May, these then explode into a huge cloud of black dots in June, July and August of locally acquired cases.

“Network 1 (91 sequenced cases) was first identified in March and expanded rapidly throughout May. No further cases have been identified within this transmission network since 30 May 2020,” Professor Bowden wrote.

“There is no evidence of ongoing transmission of any other known genomic clusters within Victoria since this date.”

In other words, the virus was dying out. But in mid May, the virus comes roaring back.

“Network 2 (1705 sequenced cases) was first identified in mid-May in a group of returned travellers. Additional cases were identified within this transmission network throughout June and continuing into July,’’ he wrote.

“Of the 1837 cases diagnosed since 8 May 2020 where overseas acquisition was not suspected and with available sequence data, 1833 (99.8%) were identified within one of the three local transmission networks, or genomic cluster 45_A. “

WHO IS PATIENT ZERO?

Over the weekend, The Age reported that Victoria’s “patient zero” was a night duty manager at Melbourne’s Rydges on Swanston hotel, which was a quarantine hotel for returned overseas travellers.

But scientists say they cannot determine the sequence of who got infected first, simply that the infections are linked.

The Victorian Premier insisted on Friday that he still has no confirmation of who the “patient zero” was.

“I don’t have any advice about who that person might be,” Mr Andrews said.

“I think that whole notion that we could necessarily have, to that degree of certainty, clarity about one particular person, I don’t know the science would ever lead you to that. It could, but it may not.”

To that extent, the mysterious case of the night duty manager simply poses an alternative theory of how the virus got into the general community that does not involve security guards alone.

What is known is that security guards became infected after the night duty manager and that cluster was linked to returning travellers.

What isn’t known is how they were infected, whether some security guards were actually infected first but diagnosed after the night duty manager, or how the virus then spread in Melbourne’s north western suburbs.

It’s possible that the night duty manager became infected from contact with returning travellers. It’s also possible that the actual “patient zero” was still a security guard who got it from an overseas traveller who then infected the night duty manager

The fact that Victoria’s second wave of cases was linked to hotel quarantine has never been in doubt.

In a press release announcing the inquiry, the Victorian Government noted: “The chief health officer has advised the government that a number of cases of coronavirus in the community have been linked through genomic sequencing to an infection control breach in the hotel quarantine program.”

Victorian Opposition leader Michael O’Brien has repeatedly urged the Andrews Government to be “honest with Victorians and stop covering up the problems and mismanagement around hotel quarantine.”

“The Premier and his ministers are refusing to answer questions and continue to hide behind an inquiry rather than being upfront,’’ he said.

“The millions of Victorians locked up through no fault of their own, need the Premier to stop dodging questions and start giving answers.”



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