Queensland authorities have locked down two backpackers’ hostels amid fears the virus could be spreading through people staying there.
Guests at the Roma Street City Backpackers and neighbouring Joe’s Place Backpackers hostels in Brisbane’s CBD were put into quarantine on Wednesday after a man who had been staying at one of the hostels positive to COVID-19.
All but three hostel guests who are considered close contacts have so far tested negative to COVID.
Queensland had no new local virus cases on Thursday, and one in hotel quarantine.
The infected man completed hotel quarantine in Brisbane on July 17 before flying home to Western Australia. He was denied entry, and stayed in a WA hotel for two days before flying back to Queensland, where he stayed at Roma Street City Backpackers.
He was tested for the virus on Monday.
“When he arrived he was already starting to have some symptoms,” chief health officer Jeannette Young said.
“He went to the backpackers’ hostel in the city on Roma Street. He essentially stayed in his room there because he was starting to feel increasingly unwell.”
She said the man had likely been infectious for several days. However, she said Thursday’s COVID results were “excellent”.
“It is very good news for Queensland and thank you to everyone who has been complying with all of the restrictions and the requirements to home quarantine,” she said.
Genomic sequencing has revealed the man, who originally flew into Brisbane from the Philippines, via PNG, has the same strain of the virus as three others who shared his flights. He went into one Brisbane quarantine hotel, with the others heading to another.
All have the Alpha strain of the virus.
Queensland authorities have traced 62 hostel guests. Of those, 59 – including two who shared a room with the infected man – have already tested negative.
Late on Wednesday, Queensland Health said anyone in Joe’s Place Backpackers and Brisbane City Backpackers from the afternoon of July 20 to 1am on July 28 had been considered close contacts.
Anyone at Brisbane Domestic Airport about 1.30pm on July 20 or in the emergency department of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital about 10pm on July 26 was deemed a low-risk contact and should get tested.
Dr Young was also expecting genomic sequencing to reveal exactly where a Gold Coast man, who tested positive earlier this week, caught the virus.
It’s believed he caught the Delta strain from another hotel guest staying in the room opposite him at the Amora Hotel in Brisbane.
Also on Wednesday, Queensland Health confirmed 19 COVID infections among the crew of a bulk carrier. It has docked at Weipa, on Cape York Peninsula, with 10 of the sickest crew transferred to virus accommodation in Brisbane.