Four Corners: August 17

On Monday’s Four Corners, Stephanie March and Pat McGrath report on how Victoria unleashed Australia’s new outbreak of coronavirus.

It will reveal the failures by authorities who were supposed to keep the community safe.

“When I saw the first case in the hotel quarantine, that was a real red alert.” World Health Organisation adviser and epidemiologist

For months Australia was the envy of the world, with COVID-19 largely under control. Restrictions were being lifted around the country and preparations were under way to open interstate borders. Much of the key to Australia’s success lay in the enforced quarantining of passengers returning from overseas.

“The reason that we were doing it was to protect Australia…we were, in reality, the sterile barrier between potential COVID infection and the rest of our country.” Quarantined passenger

All that changed when the news broke of a breach in Melbourne’s hotel quarantine program.

“Do they understand how psychopathic this virus is? That all they have to do is do one small thing that’s wrong, and they could then acquire it.” World Health Organisation adviser and epidemiologist

On Monday Four Corners investigates how COVID-19 escaped back out into the Victorian community, wreaking havoc in the state and putting the rest of the nation in peril.

“We had a whole host of concerns around how the hotel quarantine system was being managed.” Doctor

Reporters Stephanie March and Pat McGrath piece together what went so very badly wrong in Victoria.

“Most of the people working there, they’ve got other jobs. They’re working from one hotel to another hotel. Someone else was driving an Uber. So I wasn’t surprised.” Security guard

After the initial outbreak, the virus spread with alarming speed and took hold in the most vulnerable places imaginable, aged care homes.

“It went from one, it went to five. And then a couple of days it went to 61.” Son

This investigation reveals the failures by the authorities that were supposed to keep the community safe.

“We were poorly prepared and we were running around, essentially, like headless chooks.” Aged care expert

With the virus emerging in other states, experts are warning all Australians to heed the lessons of Victoria and its second wave.

“It could happen anywhere. That’s what we all need to wrap our heads around in order to change our behaviour and all do our bit to stop things getting out of hand.” Global biosecurity expert

8:30pm Monday on ABC.

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