NSW Heath are desperately trying to track down returned travellers who spent their 14-day mandatory quarantine at the Hotel Grand Chancellor and have since headed back over the border.
The scramble comes as the hotel was shut for deep cleaning after six people – four quarantining guests, a cleaner and her partner – contracted the highly contagious UK strain of coronavirus.
Anyone in NSW who had been at the hotel since December 30, either as a returned traveller or staff, must get tested and isolate for 14 days after they were last there.
Health authorities in Victoria have issued the same alert while also applying it to anyone who has arrived in the state from the Greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Logan and Ipswich local government areas since December 30.
NSW Health are urging any residents in their state who have been at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane (pictured) to get tested and self-isolate for 14-days
NSW Health said residents must stay in isolation for the full two weeks regardless of their test results.
‘NSW Health also requests these people to telephone 1300 066 055 for further advice,’ NSW Health said in a statement.
‘The Queensland Government has notified NSW Health there were NSW people staying at the hotel who have since returned to NSW.
‘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.’
Victorian health authorities are also imploring released travellers from the hotel to self-isolate and get tested.
Late on Wednesday, Victoria’s health department told anyone in Victoria who has completed mandatory hotel quarantine at the hotel since December 30 to get tested and quarantine at home until they receive a negative result.
They should contact its coronavirus hotline immediately.
‘The Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Logan, Ipswich will continue to remain in the in the red zone and travel to Victoria will not be permitted without an exemption, exception or permitted worker permit,’ Victoria’s Department of Health and Human services added in a statement.
Six people at the hotel – four quarantining guests, a cleaner and her partner – contracted the highly contagious UK strain of coronavirus. Pictured, a hotel guest is seen on a balcony at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Wednesday
NSW Health are urging residents who have even the mildest of symptoms to get tested. Pictured, commuters are seen wearing masks at a Sydney train station earlier this month
‘Anyone who has arrived into Victoria from one of these LGA since 30 December must get tested and quarantine at home until they receive a negative result.’
Travel from the other ‘red zone’, Greater Sydney, also remains banned, with the state government defending its tough border restrictions.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she held grave concerns about the Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster.
Almost 130 returned travellers quarantined in the hotel will be transferred to alternative accommodation after two guests staying on the same floor mysteriously caught the virus strain.
Some 226 employees who have worked at the hotel since December 30 must also be quarantined and tested.
An additional 250 guests who have left quarantine since December 30 and remain in Queensland are being contacted as they must undergo another 14 days of hotel quarantine.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she held grave concerns about the Hotel Grand Chancellor (pictured) cluster, which has grown to six cases of the highly-contagious UK virus strain
‘We now are concerned about this cluster,’ Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday, apologising to those affected but stressing it was necessary.
‘What we are dealing with here is something that we’ve never had to deal with before.’
‘This is a new highly infectious strain. We do not want to see this getting out into the community and that’s why we have taken these precautionary steps today in the interests of the public safety.’