Urgent search for NSW travellers after mutant strain outbreak in hotel

Ash Cant
·3-min read

Health authorities are urging people in NSW and Victoria who stayed at a Brisbane quarantine hotel to come forward for testing and isolate as Queensland identifies more cases of the new Covid variant.

In a press release issued on Wednesday evening, NSW Health called on anyone from NSW who had been to the Grand Chancellor hotel in Brisbane since December 30, either as a staff member or returned traveller to get tested and isolate.

Those who stayed at the hotel must isolate for 14 days, regardless of their test result and contact NSW Health for further advice.

Health authorities in NSW and Victoria are asking anyone who was at the Hotel Grand Chancellor on or after December 30 to get tested for Covid and quarantine for 14 days. Source: AAP
Health authorities in NSW and Victoria are asking anyone who was at the Hotel Grand Chancellor on or after December 30 to get tested for Covid and quarantine for 14 days. Source: AAP

The urgency is due to six cases of the Covid-19 variant, linked to the UK, which have now been linked to the Grand Chancellor hotel.

“This variant is known to spread more easily from person to person than other strains of the Covid-19 virus,” NSW Health said.

“NSW Health is working with Queensland Health to identify these people so our contact tracers can provide public health advice and updated information as it becomes available.”

NSW Health once again asked people within the state to get tested for Covid, even if they have the mildest of symptoms.

Victoria issues alert over Covid-hit hotel

Victoria is also imploring released travellers from the Brisbane quarantine hotel to self-isolate and get tested.

Just like NSW, anyone in Victoria who has been to the Grand Chancellor on or after December 30 must get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.

Anyone who has returned from the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redlands and Logan since December 30 must get tested and quarantine until they receive a negative result.

Those LGAs remain in the “red zone”, meaning travel to Victoria from those places is not permitted without an exemption, exception or permitted worker permit.

Queensland calls for review after quarantine outbreak

Four people quarantining at the Grand Chancellor Hotel have tested positive for the new strain of Covid, along with a cleaner and her partner.

The hotel has been closed for cleaning.

All 129 people quarantining there are being tested and moved to another hotel to restart 14-day isolation.

The 226 people who worked at the hotel and 250 who have quarantined there since December 30 will also be isolated and tested.

Following the outbreak of the strain which is reportedly 70 per cent more infectious than the previous Covid strain, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called for a review of Australia's quarantine system, to determine whether it has the ability to keep the UK strain out.

 The Queensland government is shutting the Hotel Grand Chancellor which is currently operating as a quarantine hotel after six people staying there contracted the UK strain of Covid-19. Source: AAP
The Queensland government is shutting the Hotel Grand Chancellor which has been operating as a quarantine hotel. Source: AAP

"Have a look what's happening in the UK, what's happening in Ireland, I mean, this, if it gets out of control it can have devastating consequences," Ms Palaszczuk told reporters.

"Right now we do know that this strain is coming into Australia from overseas arrivals; they're not just coming into Queensland, it's coming to other states as well, so I think everybody needs to be on a higher alert."

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young admitted health authorities in Queensland did not know how transmission occurred and stressed it was crucial to have everyone linked to the hotel in isolation for the next 14 days.

With AAP

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