Security a ‘joke’ at Hotel Corona: BYO mask, hand sanitiser
A whistleblowing security guard has made bombshell claims about Victoria's botched hotel quarantine, including that she was recruited on WhatsApp, given no training and asked to provide her own protective equipment.
Shayla Shakshi, 19, recounted how her colleagues at the Stamford Plaza in Melbourne treated COVID-19 as a "joke".
The quarantine scandal has plunged Victoria into crisis, with 3147 active cases, including 22 deaths since July 1, in the state likely to stem from outbreaks at hotels, the state's chief health officer has conceded.
The explosion in cases, including 374 on Tuesday, prompted the lockdown of Melbourne at a cost of at least $6bn to the economy and the largest cluster in Sydney at Casula's Crossroads Hotel is genomically linked to Melbourne's outbreak.
An inquiry is probing shocking claims, including that workers had sex with the travellers they were guarding.
Ms Shakshi said she was hired by Victorian government-contracted firm MSS Security via WhatsApp and instructed to supply her own mask and sanitiser.
"I just got told that you need to be here at this certain time and dress this certain way and this is your pay rate and that's it," Ms Shakshi told the ABC's 7.30.
"I finished my first shift, we had a meeting in a room and they said 'You've got to bring your own mask from tomorrow, bring your own gloves, your own sanitiser, we might run out because there's so many guards on site'.
"It was my first and last shift - I didn't want to go back"
The Stamford is at the centre of the scandal, with one infected security guard testing positive before a cluster of 35 cases was detected.
"We didn't get any training when I got there. We had to put a mask on and gloves on and that was it. It was really like, 'OK, how do I wear a mask? How do I sanitise?' " she said. "I just knew something would happen because the guards were hitting each other, they were hugging each other, they were touching each other and they weren't actually serious about how serious this COVID is. They were taking it as a joke, like 'Oh it's just some virus that anyone can get …'."
MSS Security was contacted for comment.
Originally published as Security a 'joke' at Hotel Corona: BYO mask, hand sanitiser