More than 70 returned travellers in Brisbane have been forced to extend their stay in hotel quarantine, following fears they may have been exposed to a new Russian variant of COVID-19.
It comes after two people, who travelled on Qatar Airways flight QR898 from Doha to Brisbane on February 17, tested positive for the strain while in hotel quarantine.
The passengers on board the flight were due to be released from hotel quarantine today, but have been informed by Queensland Health that they will need to remain in their rooms for another five days.
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“This new variant has meant we’ve had to extend the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for another five days and organise additional testing for 74 travellers who may have been exposed to this new variant,” A Queensland Health spokesperson said.
“As of 2 March 2021, the B.1.1.317 (Russian variant) has been confirmed in two overseas arrivals on flight QR898.
“Genomic testing is underway for a third traveller who tested positive to COVID-19 and was linked to this flight and remains in quarantine.
The spokesperson apologised for the “inconvenience” caused by the extended quarantine, but said it was neccessary to protect Queenslanders.
“We acknowledge that this news will be disappointing and understand that you would have been looking forward to leaving quarantine,” Qld Health said.