Travellers who’ve already served their mandatory time in a quarantine hotel have been asked to get tested and to go back into isolation.
Travellers who’ve already served their mandatory time in a quarantine hotel have been asked to get tested and to go back into isolation.

Super-spreader fears: Travellers ordered back into isolation

Travellers who served mandatory quarantine on floor eight of Brisbane's Mercure Hotel over four days last month are being urged to get tested immediately for the COVID-19 virus and to go back into isolation.

The plea follows an emerging coronavirus outbreak among passengers on a Qatar Airways flight, which arrived into Brisbane on February 17 from Doha.

Two more passengers from flight QR898 have tested positive to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, taking the coronavirus cluster linked to the plane to six, including one person who travelled on to New Zealand.

At least four of the cases have the mystery Russian variant of SARS-CoV-2, known scientifically as B.1.1.317.

Some of the flight QR898 passengers who have COVID-19 were detected while in quarantine on floor eight of the Mercure Hotel.

Brisbane’s Mercure Hotel. Picture: David Clark Photography
Brisbane’s Mercure Hotel. Picture: David Clark Photography

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the source of infection was under investigation and Queensland Health was taking a "cautious approach".

"All of these positive cases were on flight QR898 and two of them were serving their quarantine period in adjacent rooms on the same floor of the Mercure Brisbane Hotel at North Quay," Dr Young said.

"We are being very cautious and thorough and are investigating all potential possibilities for infection.

"What we do know is that one of the cases confirmed with this variant was infectious on the plane, and we believe that individual was more infectious than most cases.

"Another of the cases was not seated near this person on the plane but was in the hotel room next to them at the Mercure Brisbane Hotel, so that's why we are looking into if any transmission occurred within the hotel quarantine system.

"At this time, we don't believe there is a risk to the community. Hotel workers are regularly tested, as are guests."

 

 

 

 

Dr Young is asking anyone who was in quarantine at the Mercure between February 18 and 21, who has since left the hotel, to immediately get tested for COVID-19.

They should isolate for 14 days since they left the hotel, or until Sunday March 7, whichever is sooner.

All passengers arriving into Brisbane on the QR898 flight have had their hotel quarantine extended by five days to Monday.

"We've always said our quarantine policy is designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect Queenslanders and this is why we're implementing these additional measures," Dr Young said.

"Throughout the pandemic, we've had to be agile in our approach and this has meant enhancing and adapting our quarantine requirements as necessary.

"With multiple cases linked to flight QR898 and floor 8 of the Mercure Brisbane Hotel, we need to ensure we protect the community.

"I know this will cause an inconvenience to many people, but it's necessary to protect Queenslanders."

The two new cases from the QR898 flight are among seven new COVID19 infections recorded in Queensland today.

Another five cases had recently arrived from Papua New Guinea.

 

Originally published as Super-spreader fears: Travellers ordered back into isolation


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