Daniel Andrews has apologised to residents of a Melbourne apartment block located near one of the hotels being used for quarantining Australian Open players.
There were complaints from residents earlier this week that used face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) from the hotel had found their way into the foyer of their apartment building.
A resident named Sarah, who lives next door to the View hotel on St Kilda Road, told the ABC that used face masks and gloves had blown into her apartment and sent photos to the news site.
Sarah claimed the used PPE had come from overflowing biohazard bins.
“In our apartment block, a lot of people I’ve spoken to aren’t going out, because they’re not sure how safe it is,” Sarah said.
“Our building has a lot of elderly people as well as children, basic stuff like this should not be happening.”
Another resident claimed: “We’ve seen half a dozen face masks at a time on our front doorstep, since the hotel quarantine began next door.”
COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) Minister Lisa Neville initially rejected claims the used PPE had come from the Australian Open hotel, however Andrews has since issued an apology.
The Victorian Premier said he believed that the late collection of the biohazard bins had caused the issue.
“I asked CQV and others to look into that. As I understand it there was a delay in the scheduled PPE pick-up, so the garbage track basically had turned up late,” Andrews told reporters on Thursday.
“They are now putting in place, that’s what I’m told, overflow arrangements so if that was to happen again there would be additional storage capacity so that that could be stored safely.
“It was nothing more complex than that, that’s what I’m told.
“We don’t want to see that happen again and we apologise to local residents if there was any sense of distress caused by it.”
However CQV later announced that the agency had reviewed CCTV of the street and found no evidence that the PPE came from from the biohazard bins.
“The footage shows that full clinical waste bins were only removed from their designated storage location in the underground carpark when the collection truck arrived,” a spokesperson said.
“At no stage were full clinical waste bins left unattended on either Roy Street or Queens Lane.”
Rising tennis star announces positive test
Meanwhile, rising Spanish star Paula Badosa has become the first Australian Open player to announce she has tested positive for COVID-19.
The 23-year-old has been isolating in Melbourne under the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule after a tournament-chartered flight from Abu Dhabi on which two co-passengers also subsequently tested positive.
Badosa said on social media on Thursday that she had been feeling unwell and had been moved to another “health hotel” to recuperate.
The World No.67 took on Twitter to say: “I have some bad news. Today, I received a positive Covid-19 test result.
“I'm feeling unwell and have some symptoms, but I'll try to recover as soon as possible listening to the doctors.
“I have been taken to a health hotel to self-isolate and be monitored. Thanks for your support. We'll be back stronger. Paula.”
A total of 72 competitors have been confined to their hotel rooms before the tournament that starts on February 8.
On Wednesday, officials reported that 10 people who travelled to Australia for the tournament had tested positive.
Yet some of those were likely to be viral shedding, where someone still has the virus in their system but is no longer contagious..
The New York-born Badosa is still the only competitor to be named as an active coronavirus case.
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