Hundreds of quarantined travellers have been moved out of a Sydney hotel amid claims of dirty rooms and guards not wearing masks.
NSW Police worked overnight Tuesday to relocate 366 people from Travelodge Hotel to “more suitable” accommodation after it was found not to be complying with health standards.
The budget hotel, listed at $120 a night online, has been dumped from the state’s quarantine program after it was found not to meet expectations, with police deciding to relocate all guests.
Lauren Farmer, who landed from Scotland, told the ABC the conditions of rooms were so deplorable, she did not “feel physically safe in that space”.
“Even though I knew the Travelodge is a budget hotel, I arrived and the room hadn’t been cleaned properly,” Ms Farmer said.
“The tables were sticky, there was white powder all over the carpet, there were clumps of someone’s hair on the couch.
“The bathroom was so dirty, I didn’t even feel like walking into it.”
She said she also observed many guards not wearing masks.
Gurnam Singh, whose wife was in the hotel, said she complained about the conditions which motivated him to push for guests to be moved.
“The bathroom was dirty, the room was dusty — there was grease in the fridge and the chairs had hairs on it,” Mr Singh told the ABC.
“[My wife] is very lovely … she did not actually complain that much, but she showed me the photos … someone cannot live in this place for 14 days.”
A spokesperson from TFE Hotels said: “We respect the decisions that authorities need to make in these times and remain committed to supported them”.
“Our most recent site inspection with police and health authorities was conducted on July 28, and we were deemed compliant and retained on the isolation program.
“We are not aware of any subsequent audit, nor are we aware of any COVID-19 related concerns.
“All hotel rooms are deep cleaned thoroughly before and after guest use.”
It comes as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian backed the state’s hotel quarantine system despite a coronavirus-positive security guard being fined twice for failing to isolate while waiting for his test results.
The 22-year-old male security guard was fined $2000 for visiting Westfield Burwood after his test on Thursday and Burwood’s Service NSW building on Friday afternoon.
The Campsie man was later confirmed as the second Marriott hotel security guard to catch the virus.
NSW recorded just three new infections on Tuesday, including one returned traveller in hotel quarantine and two close contacts of previously known cases.
Victoria recorded 148 new COVID-19 infections – its second consecutive day under 150 cases – and eight deaths.
The fatalities took the state’s death toll to 438 and the national figure to 525.
Millionaire forced into Queensland quarantine
A Melbourne multi-millionaire who cruised away from Victoria’s lockdown on a luxury superyacht has had his travel exemption revoked in Queensland.
Mark Simonds, executive director of development company Simonds Group, has been forced into two weeks hotel quarantine after arriving on the Gold Coast.
Mr Simonds and his family had been on the water for 15 days, travelling from Victoria and stopping at several locations in NSW, which the Queensland government considers a coronavirus hotspot.
The Lady Pamela pulled into the Coomera marina on the Gold Coast on Monday morning with seven people on board.
However on Tuesday, Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young revoked the family’s travel exemption, saying the initial approval had been based on incomplete information.
“All seven people are now required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 14 days at their own expense,” a Queensland Health spokesperson said.
“Attempting to bypass or manipulate Queensland’s border direction is unacceptable.”
Rise in COVID-19 cases slowing as virus spreads
The World Health Organisation reports the COVID-19 pandemic is expanding, but the rise in cases has slowed globally, except for south-east Asia and the eastern Mediterranean.
In its latest epidemiological update, issued on Monday night European time, the WHO said the Americas remains the hardest-hit region, accounting for half of newly reported cases and 62 per cent of the 39,240 deaths worldwide in the past week.
More than 23.65 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 811,895 have died.
More than 1.7 million new COVID-19 cases and 39,000 new deaths were reported to WHO for the week ending August 23, a 4 per cent decrease in the number of cases and a 12 per cent decrease in the number of deaths compared to the previous week, the WHO said.
South-East Asia, the second most affected region, reported a jump accounting for 28 per cent of new cases and 15 per cent of deaths, with India and Nepal worst hit.
Lebanon, Tunisia and Jordan reported the highest increase in cases in the eastern Mediterranean region, where the number of reported cases rose by 4 per cent as the number of deaths continued to drop as they head over the past six weeks.
The number of cases and deaths reported across Africa decreased by 8 per cent and 11 per cent respectively in the past week, “primarily due to a decrease in cases reported in Algeria, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa”, it said.
“In the European region, the number of cases reported has consistently increased over the last three weeks,” it said. “However, only a slight decrease (1 per cent) was reported in the most recent week, and the number of deaths have continued to decrease across the region.”
In WHO’s western Pacific region, the number of new cases dropped by 5 per cent, driven by less spread in Japan, Australia, Singapore, China and Vietnam. South Korea reported an 180 per cent jump in cases, “mainly due to an increase in cases associated with religious gatherings”.
-with AAP and ABC