NSW Issues Virus Alert for Brisbane Hotel

NSW Issues Virus Alert for Brisbane Hotel
NSW Chief Health officer Kerry Chant at a press conference in Homebush in Sydney, Australia on Aug. 17, 2020. (Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

NSW has issued an alert for anyone who has been at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane, fearing a highly contagious strain of COVID-19 may have spread across the border.

The quarantine hotel is linked to six cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 and has been closed by the Queensland government for deep cleaning.

NSW Health on Jan. 13 urged anyone who had been at the hotel since Dec. 30, as a returned traveller or worker, to immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.

“NSW Health is working with Queensland Health to identify these people so our contact tracers can provide public health advice and updated information as it becomes available,” it said.

It comes as Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said it was unlikely coronavirus restrictions across Greater Sydney would be eased in the coming days.

She said authorities needed at least another three weeks to ensure the Berala and northern beaches clusters are squashed.

“It would take at least three, maybe four weeks and so I need the community to be on track with us,” Chant told reporters on Wednesday.

“As an epidemiologist, we like to see around two incubation periods before we assess that we are free of the disease.”

NSW recorded one new locally-acquired COVID-19 case in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, in a child connected to the 28-person Berala cluster.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday also confirmed a COVID-positive man, who presented to Mount Druitt Hospital last weekend with respiratory symptoms, and his partner are linked to the Berala cluster.

Public health alerts remain in place for dozens of hotspots around Greater Sydney, including a shopping centre in Warriewood, a post office in Hurlstone Park and a workers’ club in Blacktown.

Meanwhile, South Australia has lifted COVID-19 restrictions for travellers from regional NSW, but will continue to block visitors from Sydney and surrounds.