A hotel quarantine guest staying on the Gold Coast has claimed staff didn’t wear face masks when delivering food and laundry – as police investigate how a Brisbane cleaner caught the UK mutant strain of coronavirus.
The woman, who did not wish to be identified, said she was concerned by what she saw at the hotel while being confined to her room for 15 days in December 2020.
Her comments come after Brisbane was released from a harsh three-day lockdown following the positive test result of a hotel quarantine cleaner.
Queensland Health are investigating how the cleaner became infected by the mutant strain, with police searching through four days of CCTV footage.
A hotel quarantine guest staying on the Gold Coast has claimed staff didn’t wear face masks when delivering food and laundry (stock image)
The woman in hotel quarantine was particularly uneasy about her hotel’s protocols after a passenger on her flight tested positive to coronavirus.
‘The protocol seemed quite good [on the plane] getting off at the airport everyone was in masks, standard procedure,’ she told the ABC.
‘But we did notice during our stay there, because there’s a little peep hole in the door, that the people delivering our food and the cleaners who were cleaning opposite us, once quarantine people were leaving, nobody was wearing masks.
‘And you can’t guarantee that people who quarantine will have their door closed, you open it to receive laundry, to receive meals, you can order anything from outside and have it delivered by hotel staff.’
The woman said she phoned hotel management about her concerns numerous times during her stay and then raised her queries with Queensland Health via email.
She was advised by email that her mandatory 14-day stay would be extended by 24 hours after a passenger from her flight tested positive.
The woman said she replied to the email and questioned the risk posed to hotel guests. She said she was advised there was low to zero risk of workers at the hotel contracting Covid from quarantining guests.
The hotel quarantine guest said she doesn’t think there were sensible precautions in place to stop the transmission, adding she doesn’t feel like she was ‘listened to’ when raising her concerns.
The woman’s comments come after Brisbane was released from a harsh three-day lockdown following the positive test result of a hotel quarantine cleaner. Pictured: Residents wear face masks in Brisbane on January 8
No new local Covid-19 cases have been reported in Queensland since Monday night, when the partner of the quarantine hotel cleaner was identified as a case.
The man is the only known case since his partner tested positive on January 7, but Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it’s too early relax restrictions.
She said wearing face masks in public indoors and social distancing will be mandatory until at least January 22.
‘Just remember the incubation period is 14 days, and there is no evidence that the incubation period for this new variant is any different,’ Dr Young said.
‘So we just have to wait, and we need to maintain all of the systems and processes we’ve all got in place as individuals to protect ourselves if this were to spread.
‘So we just have to do what Queenslanders have done so brilliantly right from the start, in terms of following all the advice, and minimising the risk for everyone.’
Masks are mandatory in supermarkets, shops, indoor markets, places of worship, libraries, gyms and indoor recreational facilities such as cinemas and art galleries.
Masks are mandatory in supermarkets, shops, indoor markets, places of worship, libraries, gyms and indoor recreational facilities such as cinemas and art galleries following the positive Covid-19 infection of a hotel quarantine cleaner
They also must be worn on public transport, in taxis and rideshare vehicles and should be carried at all times.
Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said while officers would enforce mask-wearing they may also offer people masks if they don’t have one.
‘We will always give people the opportunity to comply with the directions,’ he said.
‘However, if people choose not to do that, there are strict penalties that apply and up to a $1300 fine could be imposed.’
Gatherings in private homes have been capped at 20 people and capacity is restricted at pubs, restaurants and cafes.
Dr Young also said an ongoing investigation into how the hotel cleaner became infected may not be conclusive.
Police are trying to recreate the entire timeline to pinpoint any specific breach.
‘It still may be that we will never get to the bottom of whatever actually happened because it could be something quite incidental to do with how infectious disease is,’ Commissioner Gollschewski said.
‘But we will absolutely look at everything in the whole process.’