Shock as quarantined travellers share items over balcony

 

Travellers have been snapped leaning over balconies and sharing items during lockdown at the same Brisbane quarantine hotel that was at the centre of an outbreak in January.

Spring Hill resident Bob Price said he grew concerned about an "oversight" in adjoining balconies during his evening walks when he spotted guests who seemed to be socialising with each other at the Hotel Grand Chancellor.

 

Guests share items between balconies at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.
Guests share items between balconies at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.

 

The shocking display recorded by Mr Price has resulted in two men getting slapped with official warnings by police.

He was out for a walk on Tuesday, 24 hours into the three-day Brisbane lockdown, when he saw guests of separate rooms making physical contact.

"I saw them leaning over so they were breathing in each other's faces," Mr Price said.

"And you can see one person possibly passing the other something over their balconies."

Mr Price said he had been "strictly" self-isolating like most Brisbane residents heeding government advice in a bid to reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19.

"So it's really annoying and kind of scary to see contact between people in a quarantine hotel," he said.

"We would hope everyone is taking this lockdown seriously."

Mr Price reported the hotel activity to police about 6pm when he snapped photos of the guests who weren't keeping their distance.

A spokesman from COVID-19 Taskforce Sierra Linnet said Queensland Police are aware of the incident where hotel quarantine guests were interacting with each other on balconies.

"Police stationed at the hotel issued formal warnings to the men, who are known to each other and travelled to Queensland together," the spokesman said.

 

 

"The QPS is committed to ensuring participants of the hotel quarantine program adhere to their obligations to keep themselves and the community safe.

"Failing to abide by hotel rules could mean quarantine participants face extended quarantine at their expense."

An outbreak at the hotel in January involving four guests, a cleaner and her partner triggered a three-day lockdown for Greater Brisbane.

A report into the cluster stated a review team was unable to determine the exact cause of transmission and no direct breaches in quarantine or security were identified.

Concerns over COVID-19 spreading through the hotel arose again in mid-March when three cases were linked to the quarantine facility.

Mr Price said an obvious risk of transmission could be identified from looking at the building's exterior.

"You would hope authorities would be aware of the balconies as a potential issue and maintain distance between quarantined individuals," he said.

"I'd like to see the risk for breaches reduced through adequate planning."

Anyone found to be in breach of the Chief Health Officer's public health directions may receive an on-the-spot fine of $1334.

Originally published as Height of stupidity: Quarantined travellers share items over balcony

 



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