Jenny Mikakos, the health minister of Victoria, Australia, has stepped down after the state’s premier claimed she mismanaged a hotel quarantine scheme. Victoria has seen nearly five months of strict Covid-19 measures.
Her resignation comes a day after Premier Daniel Andrews told an inquiry that he “regarded her accountable” for the decision to use private security guards, instead of police or military personnel, at hotels that had been converted into quarantine centers. Lax security at the facilities has been blamed for the state’s alleged ‘second wave’ of coronavirus cases.
The board of inquiry has spent weeks trying to establish who made the decision to rely on private security to guard the hotels. Mikakos has insisted that she was not involved in the matter.
“I am disappointed that my integrity has sought to be undermined,” she wrote in a one-page statement announcing her resignation. She said that she “strongly disagreed” with “elements” of Andrews’ statement to the inquiry and that as a result, she could no longer serve in his cabinet. She said she also plans to vacate her seat in parliament.
Her departure marks the fourth minister to leave the administration in three months.
Victoria has sparked considerable controversy over its draconian anti-coronavirus measures. The state capital Melbourne has endured one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns, with stay-at-home orders or similar restrictions in effect for nearly five months.
The Australian state reported one new coronavirus-related death on Saturday, bringing its total death toll to 782 since the start of the health crisis. Victoria registered 12 new coronavirus cases.
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