Aged care will be the focus of a Senate inquiry looking into the federal government’s coronavirus response.

The handling of the pandemic at aged care facilities has come under the spotlight, with 17 residents at a western Sydney nursing home dying from the coronavirus.

About 70 people have been infected with the virus at the Newmarch House nursing home.

The Senate inquiry will on Tuesday hear from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy as well as Department of Health officials.

Committee chair Katy Gallagher plans to question Professor Murphy on current health issues relating to the pandemic.

“And (we will be) looking into the government’s response to aged care issues including the COVID-19 outbreaks in Newmarch House and other facilities across the country,” the Labor senator told AAP in a statement.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert will ask the commission about approaches to infection control, safety and the industry visitor code.

Legislation recently passed federal parliament creating a new category of emergency leave for aged care.

It allows aged care residents to move out of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic without losing their place or copping extra charges.

Newmarch House and two other NSW aged care facilities where residents have died from the coronavirus, Dorothy Henderson Lodge and Opal Care Bankstown, will also form part of the aged care royal commission’s investigation into the impact of the pandemic.