Saturday, January 16

Anger and concern after UK strain of coronavirus spreads at Brisbane quarantine hotel


Health authorities are baffled by the way the UK’s highly contagious strain of coronavirus spread through a quarantine hotel in Brisbane, prompting the urgent evacuation of more than 100 guests yesterday.
“Was it in the air conditioning? Was it movement? Was it picking up something? We just don’t know those answers yet”, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk he said as the alarm went off yesterday.

The transmission investigations come after four guests and a cleaner at the Grand Chancellor Hotel, on the seventh floor, at different times, contracted the virus strain in the UK.

Grand Cancellor Hotel, Brisbane CBD, where a hotel cleaner tested positive for the UK COVID-19 variant. (Atila Csaszar)

More than 100 people in quarantine at the hotel were caught when a fleet of ambulances queued up to transfer them to another facility yesterday.

“We don’t know when we are going, where we are going, how we are going,” Paul Atta, a traveler in quarantine, told 9News.

“I do not know what is happening”.

A line of ambulances waits to take people from the Grand Chancellor Hotel to the site of their extended stay in quarantine after concerns about a group of the UK COVID-19 strain on the seventh floor. (Atila Csaszar)
A line of ambulances waits to take people from the Grand Chancellor Hotel to the site of their extended stay in quarantine after concerns about a group of the UK COVID-19 strain on the seventh floor. (Matt Dennien)

Infection fears meant the quarantine period is reset for everyone who has moved in, meaning that some people will now spend up to four weeks alone in a small room.

Atta was due to end her quarantine on Friday before the reset button was pressed yesterday.

“You have a strain of the virus that miraculously, right now, seems to float through walls,” he said.

“And if that’s the case, then maybe people should start rethinking the value of hotel quarantine.”

Paul Atta speaks to 9News from his balcony at the Grand Chancellor Hotel, where he has been in quarantine for 12 days. (9News)

The Brisbane drama has put other states on high alert, raising concerns about how the virus could violate the hotel’s quarantine and fears that people may have returned to the interstate after completing a quarantine period at the hotel in question. .

Authorities in Victoria and New South Wales have ordered anyone who has already completed 14 days of quarantine at the Grand Chancellor since December 30 to isolate themselves and be tested immediately.

Those affected have been asked to raise their hands and urgently call NSW Health on 1300 066 055 or Queensland Health on 134 268 for more information.

The Queensland local government areas of Greater Brisbane, Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Logan, Ipswich remain in the red zone, which means that travel to Victoria without an exemption or worker’s permit is not allowed.


www.9news.com.au

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