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Queensland Premier called for a quarantine review after outbreak

Qld Premier wants quarantine review after outbreak
Photo: Qld wants quarantine review after outbreak
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says an outbreak of the highly contagious UK strain of coronavirus in a quarantine hotel has grown to six cases.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called for a review of Australia's quarantine system after a cluster of the deadly UK coronavirus strain emerged in a Brisbane hotel.

The Grand Chancellor Hotel has been shut for deep cleaning after four people quarantining there, a cleaner and her partner contracted the COVID-19 strain.

All 129 people quarantining there are being tested and moved to another hotel to restart 14-day isolation.

The 226 people who worked at the hotel and 250 who have quarantined there since December 30 will also be isolated and tested.
"Have a look what's happening in the UK, what's happening in Ireland, I mean, this, if it gets out of control it can have devastating consequences," Ms Palaszczuk told reporters.

"Right now we do know that this strain is coming into Australia from overseas arrivals; they're not just coming into Queensland, it's coming to other states as well, so I think everybody needs to be on a higher alert."

Ms Palaszczuk called for a review of the quarantine system and its ability to keep the UK strain out.

She said the handling of arrivals and suitability of quarantine hotels must be reassessed.

"When we were dealing with COVID we knew what we were dealing with over a period of time but now this is a new highly infectious strain" the premier said.

"We do not want to see this getting out into the community."

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it was crucial everyone linked to the hotel isolate over the next 14-days.

"If we find out what's happened on that floor seven and that's a reason for how it's moved, transmitted, then that might change but at this point in time it's 14 days because I don't know how that transmission has occurred," she said.

The premier said the state will pay the bill for the existing 129 guests, who restart the entire quarantine period on Wednesday.

"It's going to be very tough on these particular guests that they now have to do an additional 14 days, however, it is necessary," she said.

University student Umair Ahsan had been due to complete his quarantine on Wednesday and was devastated to have to do it all over again.

"Everything was packed up and ready to go," he said in a video posted to YouTube.

"This is the view outside, it was a great view for last 14 days, but obviously, you know, it feels like a jail now, and we need to do another quarantine in another hotel."

The infected cleaner's movements sparked a three-day lockdown of Greater Brisbane.

Dr Young said 310 of the woman's close contacts had been tested and only one, her partner, had COVID-19.

Another 96 are being tested or awaiting results.

Authorities arealso looking for anyone else who may have come into contact with the cleaner or her partner at a number of venues.

They include Woolworths at Calamvale North, Coles Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown and a Sunnybank Hills newsagent between January 3-5.

People at Bunnings Warehouse Acacia on January 5 or Sunnybank Cellars on January 6 are also being sought.

Anyone at Capriccio's Italian Pizza Restaurant in Maleny on January 6 or Purple Palette Cellars or Woolworths Maleny on January 7 are being urged to get tested.

The total number of active Queensland virus cases is 26.


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