South Australia has asked the nation’s expert medical panel to investigate whether hotel quarantine workers should be allowed to have second jobs.
Two coronavirus-infected workers at Adelaide’s medi-hotels were also pulling shifts at a suburban pizza shop, sparking fresh concerns about casual employment.
Victoria’s inquiry into its disastrous hotel quarantine system recommended not allowing workers to be employed in multiple jobs.
But there’s no national guidelines directing states about employment conditions for the crucial work of patrolling quarantine.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall directed the head of the state’s health department to ask the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee for clarity.
“There is conflicting advice. I think what we need to have as a nation is a consolidated position on what best practice looks like,” he told reporters in Adelaide.
But Mr Marshall warned it was difficult to prevent hotel quarantine workers from mixing with families, which posed other transmission risks.
“Our best type of protection is making sure we have an excellent strong arrangement within that medi-hotel,” he said.
“But we absolutely subject ourselves to what best practice is. If the AHPPC says ‘look, we don’t want to have people working across multiple sites’ then we’ll put that arrangement into place straightaway.”
There were three new cases in SA on Friday, bringing the cluster to 25, while a further 44 are suspected to have the virus.
Mr Marshall backflipped on the state’s harsh six-day lockdown after it was revealed one of the hotel workers lied about working at the pizza shop.
Authorities argue the man being a worker rather than a customer of the outlet changes the need for the widespread shutdown of the state.
While SA has pumped the brakes on international arrivals until the end of the month, Victoria will restart its regime on December 7 with a cap of 160 people a day.
There are more than 35,000 Australians stranded overseas wanting to return home.
Victoria on Friday marked three weeks without a new case, while NSW has gone 13 days without local transmission.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg believes economic data is tracking in the right direction as Australia navigates a long and bumpy road out of the coronavirus recession.
“Despite this recent cluster of cases in South Australia, we have broadly seen the suppression of the virus across the country whereas the United States, for example, is seeing 150,000-plus new cases a day.”
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