Queensland reports three new cases of coronavirus

Queensland reports three new cases of coronavirus as 129 detainees evacuated from super-spreader hotel receive test results

Queensland has reported three new cases of coronavirus, all in hotel quarantine.   

A total of 129 detainees evacuated from the Grand Chancellor Hotel have all tested negative for coronavirus.  

Premier Palaszczuk

Premier Palaszczuk 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she is still investigating using Outback mining camps instead of Brisbane hotels to quarantine returned travellers.

The state will propose the option to National Cabinet next Friday after coronavirus spread from a returned traveller in hotel quarantine, infecting a cleaner and two other travellers.

Brisbane’s Grand Chancellor Hotel was evacuated on Wednesday as officials scrambled to work out how the UK super-strain of Covid-19 was transmitted on the seventh floor. 

Police are investigating by checking CCTV and engineers are checking if virus particles travelled in the air conditioning. 

A total of 129 travellers, some of whom were just an hour from being released, have been forced to restart their two-week quarantine in new hotels. 

Annastacia Palaszczuk said the mining camps she wants to use instead of hotels were comfortable and had balconies or outside space. Pictured: Stock image of a camp

Annastacia Palaszczuk said the mining camps she wants to use instead of hotels were comfortable and had balconies or outside space. Pictured: Stock image of a camp

Premier Palaszczuk said the mining camps would be similar to the Northern Territory's Howard Springs quarantine camp (pictured)

Premier Palaszczuk said the mining camps would be similar to the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs quarantine camp (pictured)

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. 

Premier Palaszczuk said the evacuation and re-quarantining process has been backed by Health Minster Greg Hunt and the AHPPC.

She said the mining camps she wants to use instead of hotels were comfortable and had balconies or outside space, just like the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs quarantine facility.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the idea to use camps could be more dangerous because they are far away from major airports and the virus could transmit in buses on the way there. 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said said held grave concerns about the Hotel Grand Chancellor (pictured) cluster, which has grown to six cases of the highly-contagious UK virus strain

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said said held grave concerns about the Hotel Grand Chancellor (pictured) cluster, which has grown to six cases of the highly-contagious UK virus strain 

NSW Minister Hazzard rejected the idea of using mining camps in his state.

He said about 3,500 staff worked in the quarantine system and lived in Sydney, and transporting travellers to regional areas was dangerous because the virus could transmit in buses.

Minister Hazzard also said he wants Covid-19 patients to be near major hospitals in case they deteriorate.   

Also in the Queensland press briefing, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the ambulance transfer of 129 patients to new hotels on Wednesday was ‘perfectly safe’.

‘My concern was that I did not know how it spread in the hotel. So I didn’t want the virus to potentially spread to more people in the hotel. So that’s why I wanted them all out of there,’ she said. 

A returned traveller from the UK and his wife arrived at the Grand Chancellor Hotel on 30 December. He tested positive on 2 January before she also tested positive.

A hotel cleaner, who only worked in the hotel on 2 January and did not enter their room, then tested positive on January 7.

Her case sparked a three-day lockdown of Brisbane after she visited shops and took trains and buses. She also gave the virus to her partner. 

Then on January 13 genomic sequencing showed that a father and daughter who returned from Lebanon and were also quarantined on the hotel’s seventh floor, had somehow caught the same strain of the virus. 

No guests have entered since January 7, a review of infection control measures occurred on January 8, and there have been increased cleaning measures including a deep clean of communal areas on January 12. 

Guests at the Hotel Grand Chancellor will be moved to other hotels in Brisbane after the coronavirus cluster grew to six cases. Pictured is two guests on their balcony at Hotel Grand Chancellor on Wednesday

Guests at the Hotel Grand Chancellor will be moved to other hotels in Brisbane after the coronavirus cluster grew to six cases. Pictured is two guests on their balcony at Hotel Grand Chancellor on Wednesday

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