Genomic testing has revealed six cases of the mutant UK strain of COVID-19 at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane, which has been taking in quarantine guests since September according to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
The state government has announced a precautionary measure to try and stamp out the cluster through further tests of the remaining 129 guests, as well as moving them to other hotels.
"They will not be charged for their time at the Grand Chancellor or the hotels that they are going to be moved to."
"226 people who worked in the hotel since December 30 [the date the first case of the UK strain arrived in Australia] are going to be contacted and they will go into quarantine and get tested."
She said 250 quarantine guests who have left the hotel since December 30 are now currently being contacted, and they will be quarantined and tested as well.
"No more guests have gone into the hotel since the variant was discovered on January 7," she said.
"Everybody is cooperating, everyone is doing the right thing, the investigation is ongoing, but what we are seeing is that this UK variant is unknown.
"I think we need to immediately look at the way in which we are handling people coming into the country - international arrivals and also to looking at the quarantine hotels that they are going into.
"Of course, we have to put in additional precautions and we are doing that immediately."
There were two new cases in Queensland overnight, both in hotel quarantine, but the number of active cases has also gone down by two to 26.
So far, all the cases of the UK COVID-19 strain have been on the seventh floor of the hotel.
"We're going to be very, very careful about floor seven, of course, and see whether that's where it's spread," said Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.
Dr Young noted authorities were tracing back any people who had been in contact with the hotel since 30 December, including maritime staff who may currently be at sea. She also called for people with even the mildest symptoms to get tested, especially if they have been to the following venues at the stated times:
- Sunday 3 January, Woolworths Calamvale, North Calamvale - 11.00am to 12.00pm
- Tuesday 5 January, Coles Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown, Sunnybank Hills - 7.30am to 8.00am
- Tuesday 5 January, Nextra Sunnybank Hills Newsagent, Sunnybank Hills - 8.00am to 8.15am
- Tuesday 5 January, Bunnings Warehouse, Acacia Ridge - 2.00pm to 2.40pm
- Wednesday 6 January, Sunnybank Cellars (formerly Lucky Star Bottler) New Hellawell Road, Sunnybank Hills - 2.05pm to 2.15pm
- Wednesday 6 January, Cappriccios Italian Pizza Restaurant, Maleny - 6.30pm to 7.00pm
- Thursday 7 January, Purple Palate Cellars, Maleny - 4.15pm 4.25pm
- Thursday 7 January, Woolworths Supermarket, Maleny - 4.30pm 4.50pm
Updated at 10:11am AEST on 13 January 2020.
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