People who have already spent two weeks in hotel quarantine at Brisbane’s Grand Chancellor Hotel — where a cleaner tested positive to the UK variant of the virus — have been told they will have their quarantine extended.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the move as she announced two new cases of COVID-19 recorded overnight, both in hotel quarantine.
“We have some genomic testing that came back late last night and … linked six cases of the highly infectious UK variant of COVID,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“These are the UK traveller and his partner, the hotel cleaner and her partner, and the man and his daughter from Lebanon who we told you about yesterday — so all six have a connection to the Grand Chancellor Hotel.”
The decision comes just over a day after a three-day lockdown of Greater Brisbane in response to a cleaner at the hotel testing positive to the UK strain of the virus on January 7.
Geoff Crooks is in quarantine with his wife at the hotel and said he was told overnight his stay would be extended.
“We were due for release one minute after midnight last night, we’ve done our 14 days,” Mr Crooks said.
“We got a knock on the door at 11:00pm last night, two police officers saying [there is a] possibility that you’ll be here for another two weeks.”
Officers gave Mr Crooks a new quarantine direction, which has been seen by the ABC, extending his isolation period until January 26.
“My brother’s funeral is tomorrow in Wollongong, he died while I’ve been in here,” Mr Crooks said.
“We understand the quarantine process, we agree you have to have it, but to be told in the eleventh hour that you’re stuck here.”
Guests moving to new hotels
Ms Palaszczuk said 129 guests would be moved to other hotels and they would be tested again.
“They will not be charged for their time at the Grand Chancellor or in the hotels that they are going to be moved tomorrow.
“Two hundred and twenty six people who worked in the hotel since December 30 are going to be contacted and they will go into quarantine and get tested.
“Two hundred and fifty quarantined guests who have left the hotel since December 30 are now currently being contacted.
“They will be quarantined and tested. Once again, precautionary. No more guests have gone into the hotel since the variant was discovered on January 7.”
Mr Crook said despite the hotel cleaner testing positive, guests had been provided little information from authorities.
“I felt actually safer in the US than I do right here, right now.
“We hope sanity prevails and they come and say, ‘yep, you can go home’ … but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Mr Crooks said he had tested negative to COVID-19 three times while he was in quarantine.