A luxury Sydney CBD hotel has been marked as a ‘human health response zone’ to quarantine Australians who are returning from overseas amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Swissotel is a five-star, 369 room hotel in the heart of the Sydney CBD on Market Street and for the next three months it will be home to those returning from overseas who need to go straight into isolation due to the risk they have contracted the deadly virus.
In legislation released by the Department of Agriculture’s Biosecurity division it appearers the entire hotel has been closed to regular guests, and will only be used for persons with ‘coronavirus with pandemic potential’ or those accompanying children with the same.
Biosecurity officers will be on the premisses along with biosecurity enforcement officers and the Director of Human Biosecurity.
NSW police officers will also be allowed to enter the hotel and have been visible at the front on the hotel since Wednesday.
It’s unclear if the quarantined guests will be allowed to use the hotels facilities such a pool, gym, restaurants and spas, or if they will be confined to their rooms.
There were reports of people checking in at 4am this morning, and it is understood among the first quarantined guests are those Australian passengers who were stranded on the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship in the Pacific.
“A Qantas charter flight from Honolulu arrived in Sydney Airport overnight to repatriate 292 passengers who were on the Norwegian Jewel,” NSW Health said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
The boat had been stuck at sea for three weeks.
“While the ship has reported no acute respiratory illness on board, the NSW Health International airport screening team screened all of the passengers on arrival,” the statement explained.
“Five passengers with symptoms were transferred to hospital for COVID-19 testing and isolation. The remaining well passengers were transferred to a Sydney hotel to be in self-isolation for 14 days.”
The action follows the mishandling of the Ruby Princess arrival in Sydney last week where 2700 cruise passengers disembarked without knowing there were coronavirus cases on board. More than 100 passengers from the Ruby Princess have since test positive for the virus.
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