Hotel construction site among Geelong latest’s exposures

A concept illustration of Quest Geelong Central. (Supplied)

By Luke Voogt

The construction site of a new hotel apartment complex emerged as the latest tier one exposure site in Geelong as state government announced a “compliance blitz” across Victoria on Monday.

The Department of Health at 10.49am added the Quest Geelong Central construction site as a tier one COVID-19 exposure.

A person who tested positive for COVID-19 attended the site from 7am to 5.30pm last Thursday (September 9), according to the department.

The location is among nearly 30 exposure sites, mostly tier two, across Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula listed as of Monday.

Geelong has at least 13 active COVID-19 cases with three new cases recorded on Sunday.

Several active cases in Geelong are linked to construction sites in Melbourne.

The figures come as Health Minister Martin Foley on Monday announced a “massive compliance blitz” to ensure the construction sector “remains open and COVID-safe”.

“The construction sector’s ability to remain open is on a knife’s edge and, to ensure they can keep building, people need to get vaccinated and follow the rules,” Mr Foley said.

State government’s Industry Enforcement and Engagement Operation, Worksafe and the Victorian Building Authority will carry out the four-week blitz.

The blitz also includes targeted engagement with small-to-medium construction businesses to support sub-contractors in understanding the Chief Health Officer directions.

The operation will take a “zero tolerance approach” fining workers and managers and issuing prohibition notices for “any serious non-compliance”, according to state government.

Construction sites have become a major source of transmission in Victoria’s latest outbreak as, according to state government, many people working in construction are young, highly-mobile and unvaccinated.

State government plans to make COVID-19 vaccines more available for construction workers, including another 20,000 priority Pfizer appointments from now until Sunday.

Anyone who works at a civil works, building or construction site, including contractors and architects onsite, will also be eligible.

“Ensuring easy access to vaccinations for this industry will help slow the spread of the virus and prevent further infections in the long run,” Mr Foley said.