A patient carrying the highly contagious mutant UK strain of COVID-19 was able to breach quarantine at Hotel Grand Chancellor before returning.
A patient carrying the highly contagious mutant UK strain of COVID-19 was able to breach quarantine at Hotel Grand Chancellor before returning.

COVID positive woman breached hotel quarantine

A woman with the highly infectious mutant UK strain of coronavirus was extraordinarily able to break Queensland's hotel quarantine before returning to Brisbane's Grand Chancellor hotel where she came into contact with startled staff, who had not been alerted of her return.

The Courier-Mail can reveal contract tracing is underway after an ambulance was called to the hotel for the woman's father on Monday night following a medical complaint, that saw the daughter also leave the quarantine hotel and visit the hospital despite requiring no medical attention.

Guests in quarantine on the balcony of Hotel Grand Chancellor. Picture: Tara Croser.
Guests in quarantine on the balcony of Hotel Grand Chancellor. Picture: Tara Croser.

The woman, along with her father - who were returned travellers from Lebanon - had earlier been tested for COVID-19.

Just hours later, after the woman is believed to have had contact with numerous people outside of the quarantine bubble, the pair would return a positive result for the highly infectious UK strain of the virus on day 10 of their quarantine period.

The Courier-Mail can reveal a failure of the state's hotel quarantine lockdown scheme allowed the woman, who was not knowingly at fault, out of quarantine on the evening of Monday, January 11

That night, the infectious woman would go to the Royal Brisbane Hospital and later return to the Grand Chancellor Hotel on her own accord, while it's believed her father stayed at hospital.

It is unclear how she returned or how she was able to leave, with Queensland Health refusing to answer direct questions on the incident, however The Courier-Mail understands the woman may have returned via taxi or a ride share service.

But, it is understood she did not return via Queensland Ambulance Service transport.

Hotel Grand Chancellor guests were transported via ambulance to a new quarantine hotel amid concerns of COVID cluster. Picture: Tara Croser.
Hotel Grand Chancellor guests were transported via ambulance to a new quarantine hotel amid concerns of COVID cluster. Picture: Tara Croser.

In a statement, Queensland Health claimed anyone leaving the hotel via ambulance transfer was required to wear PPE.

"If a patient requires transfer to hospital, they and any travelling family members, are treated as if they are COVID-19 positive and appropriate PPE protocol and measures are in place," the statement said.

The pair were the fifth and sixth positive cases of COVID-19 that were directly linked to the Grand Chancellor cluster.

Their positive results sparked the evacuation of the hotel, with all 129 guests being forced into a further 14 days isolation at a different hotel.

The revelation comes as chief health officer Jeannette Young today could not say whether she was confident all guests stayed inside their rooms, as per Queensland Health's hotel quarantine protocol.

Instead, she said this was a matter for police to investigate.

Chief health officer Dr. Jeannette Young says she cannot be certain if all guests had stayed inside their rooms during quarantine. Picture: Attila Csaszar
Chief health officer Dr. Jeannette Young says she cannot be certain if all guests had stayed inside their rooms during quarantine. Picture: Attila Csaszar

It was yesterday revealed there are no CCTV cameras on level 7 of the hotel, which is where all people who have since tested positive - including the woman and her father - had stayed.

The Courier-Mail understands police have requested CCTV footage from multiple areas of the hotel to review how the woman was able to leave quarantine, while the investigation also aims to determine how the virus was able to spread.

Queensland Health refused to provide comment on whether an ambulance had been called to the Grand Chancellor on the evening or confirm if the woman also attended the hospital before returning to the hotel, claiming that revealing such information would be in breach of patient confidentiality.

When pressed on how the information breached the confidentiality protocol, as there was no patient identified, a Queensland Health spokeswoman said stating a returned traveller from Lebanon who tested positive was enough to cause a privacy breach.

This is despite that information coming directly from Queensland Health itself and being broadcasted nationally by both the Premier and CHO at press conferences, as well as being publicly available via Queensland Health websites.

Originally published as COVID positive woman breached hotel quarantine



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