News Queensland Highly infectious strain of coronavirus ‘circulating in corridors’, Queensland Premier says

Highly infectious strain of coronavirus ‘circulating in corridors’, Queensland Premier says

Staff outside The Westin, a hotel quarantine for COVID-19, in Brisbane's CBD. Photo: ABC News/Liz Pickering
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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has foreshadowed a shake-up of COVID-19 hotel quarantine to include tighter rules around mask wearing.

Ahead of Friday’s release of a report into the coronavirus cluster at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor, Ms Palaszczuk said a highly infectious strain of the virus was circulating in hotel corridors.

Six people were infected with the UK strain of the virus last month, including a hotel quarantine cleaner, sparking a three-day lockdown of Greater Brisbane.

Ms Palaszczuk is expected to recommend stricter measures for guests in hotel quarantine on Friday.

“Of course there are issues about in the corridor, this virus is actually circulating in the corridors,” she told Channel Nine’s Today show.

“So it’s a wake-up call.

Ms Palaszczuk will ask for changes to hotel quarantine at National Cabinet today. Photo: ABC/AAP/Darren England

“There may be recommendations there about wearing masks when you open the doors to get food or put linen out.”

A hotel worker in Melbourne on Wednesday tested positive to coronavirus, and there’s been a similar case recently in Perth.

At National Cabinet on Friday, Ms Palaszczuk will ask Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take greater responsibility for hotel quarantine, offering to set up new sites at regional mining camps.

“Our hotels weren’t built for this contagious strain,” she said.

“Our hotels are for travellers and tourists and businesses, and they are taking the place of medi-hospitals at the moment.

Six people linked to Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor tested positive to the UK strain of coronavirus. Photo: ABC News/Nik Coleman

“More needs to be done otherwise we won’t be able to control an outbreak of this strain.

“Our quarantine is our last line of defence when it comes to protecting Australians.

“You can only put options on the table, it’s up to the Prime Minister to come to the party and help.

“It should be a 50:50 partnership here.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says disrupting hotel quarantine “would be detrimental”. Photo: AAP/Dean Lewins

However, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian did not think the federal government needed to intervene to manage the hotel quarantine systems.

“It is a mammoth effort involving thousands of people,” she told Channel Nine’s Today show today.

“To disrupt that would be detrimental.”

Ms Palaszczuk responded to the comments arguing that Premiers needed to work together for the proposal to work.

“I think if Gladys had an outbreak like we have had in other states, she might change her mind as well,” she said.

“So let’s have an open and frank conversation about it, because you need everybody to sign up to it otherwise it’s not going to work.”