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‘Human error’ leads to Melbourne chef’s ‘scarily lax’ ACT hotel quarantine

ACT Health say “human error” led to the ACT hotel quarantine experience formerly Melbourne-based chef Mark Glenn underwent while moving to the capital from Melbourne that he described as “scarily lax”.

Mr Glenn’s account of finding out five days into his quarantine that he wasn’t even on ACT Health’s system, amongst other apparent failures, has led to ACT Labor leader Andrew Barr to “endeavour” to find out more information.

The former head chef of Melbourne’s Cumulus Inc. gave an eye-opening report of his experience on the Dirty Linen – A Food Podcast with Dani Valent in an episode published yesterday.

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The interview took place halfway through Mr Glenn’s two-week ACT hotel quarantine.

After a “laborious” process departing Melbourne that he described as akin to applying for a travel visa, Mr Glenn said the whole process got “a little bit relaxed” once he arrived in Canberra.

“When I got off the plane, I approached a table where I was asked for my ID and where I came from,” he said.

“The girl I was speaking to said ‘okay great, if you go through this door your bags will be on the carousel and if you take the first door on the left you can jump into a taxi or an uber to your accommodation’.”

Mr Glenn said the ACT hotel quarantine process has become even “looser” as it has continued, with very little monitoring taking place.

“When I got to my accommodation, I was told that my room wasn’t ready. Given that I’m not meant to be in contact with anyone or out anywhere, I just waited.

“Once it was ready, I was just told it was ready and where to go … I was not escorted, nobody followed me, nobody asked where I was going.

“There’s a girl downstairs from me who every day has different friends come and have lunch with her over the balcony, which is really nice for her but defeats the purpose of the quarantine.”

The most alarming part of Mr Glenn’s experience is that upon contacting ACT Health during his quarantine, he found out he wasn’t even in their system.

“It’s been really quite strange … the weirdest part of it is that I was told I would be contacted by ACT Health to check in if I’ve got symptoms.

“After about day five I called them to organise a test, not because I had symptoms … it’s your choice whether you have a test before you leave quarantine or not, which again screams a lack of enforcement.

“Upon calling them to find out the process for testing, I was told I wasn’t in the system and they didn’t know I was in quarantine,” he said.

‘Human error’ led to no contact from ACT Health

An ACT Health spokesperson told Canberra Weekly they are “investigating the incident” and have reviewed their processes to “ensure this does not occur again”.

“Mr Glenn’s exemption to enter the ACT was granted on 28 August. He was then was recorded as having arrived at Canberra Airport and he was directed into hotel quarantine, in accordance with the conditions of his exemption,” they said.

“The traveller was also recorded in ACT Health’s system as being in quarantine, however a human error occurred with transfer of information into the contact tracing system, which resulted in the traveller not being contacted by ACT Health as per our standard processes.”

The spokesperson said since the error has been identified Mr Glenn has been contacted regularly by ACT Health, he has also received several separate compliance checks from ACT Policing.

“We are not aware of any cases like this one having occurred throughout the pandemic response,” they said.

“With additional quality assurance measures having been put in place we are confident that this will not occur again.

“ACT Health has reviewed its processes to ensure that it does not occur again.”

ACT Labor leader Andrew Barr told ABC Radio Canberra this morning he will “endeavour to find out what the situation is in that specific case”.

“People are required to register that they are coming into the ACT and that should have happened in that instance,” he said.

Mr Barr couldn’t rule out any other travellers having slipped through undetected.

“I’m not aware of any, but in light of what I’ve just heard, I’ll seek some information from ACT Health in relation to that case,” he said.

Canberra Weekly contacted ACT Labor leader Andrew Barr’s office for further comment.

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