QUEENSLAND has recorded six new cases of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine but none have been linked to the Brisbane hotel at the centre of a fresh outbreak.
Genomic sequencing has confirmed the Doctor who tested positive to COVID-19, an infected patient he was treating, and another person who had been staying near that person at Brisbane’s Grand Chancellor Hotel have all tested positive to the same strain of the virus, the UK variant B117.
So far, Queensland has tracked down 272 contacts of the doctor, who had been out in the community while infectious, and 160 people at the Princess Alexandra Hospital have been identified for testing.
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86 have come back negative so far but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it would be another 24 hours before authorities could be confident there was no community transmission.
Monday 15 March – coronavirus cases in Queensland:
• 0 new locally acquired
• 6 overseas acquired
• 38 active cases
• 1,386 total cases
• 2,042,714 tests conducted
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) March 14, 2021
The Grand Chancellor Hotel was placed into lockdown yesterday as a “precaution” as authorities try to get on top of a potential outbreak.
It is the same hotel that was at the centre of the last outbreak which forced the city of Brisbane into a snap three-day lockdown.
Any travellers who had been staying on the same floor as the two infected travellers and any staff working on that floor from the 5th to 9th of March are being tracked down and tested.
Around 200 people have been released from the hotel since those dates.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Sonya Bennett said investigations into how the virus spread between the two guests, who had been staying on the same floor of the hotel, are now underway.
“It was Case 1 that transmitted to both the doctor and Case 3,” Dr Bennett said.
“We’ve seen this before, we know that some people are highly infectious and this is likely the case in this instance.
“There is a lot of work undergoing, CCTV footage is in that hotel and will be reviewed, we will interview various people and try to understand how the transmission event occurred but we also need to manage the public health risk.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there was also a “real concern” about the surge of the virus in Papua New Guinea, with two of today’s six cases coming from PNG.
“Papua New Guinea is on the doorstep of the Torres Strait and Queensland,” the Premier said.
“We have been assisting with some tests in Papua New Guinea and out of the 500 tests that health authorities have done for Papua New Guinea, 250 are positive.”
The Premier and Health Minister Yvette D’Ath will be speaking with the Prime Minister and federal health authorities about suspending flights from the region and rolling out a vaccine program there as well.
“One in two people [testing positive] that is quite extraordinary and is quite concerning when they are right on our doorstep,” Minister D’Ath said.