‘Disgrace’: Guests lash out over quarantine ‘overreaction’
Returned overseas travellers at the hotel at the centre of Queensland's concerning cluster of the highly infections UK COVID-19 strain are lashing out at the "vague" way he and other guests were told they'd have to endure another 14 days in quarantine.
Paul Atta, who has been quarantining on the 11th floor since his arrival in Australia from Canada, was due to leave the Grand Chancellor on Friday, but the discovery of two more cases in the hotel has got authorities scrambling for answers as they try to determine how it was transmitted.
SEE THE LETTER SENT TO TRAVELLERS QUARANTINING AT THE HOTEL BELOW
Both cases, which take the hotel cluster to six, were caught by guests simply being on the same floor as existing cases, with Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young admitting she still did not know how the highly infections strain was transmitted inside the hotel.
"This is new information to have six people linked to someone who has been in quarantine," she said.
"This has happened very quickly and we're struggling to find out how it's got out of that room.
"I don't understand how it happened on floor 7. I don't know how it's transmitted.
"We need to just find all those people and test them."
Returned overseas travellers, including Mr Atta, who have already completed close to 14 days in quarantine at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, will now be evacuated to other hotels for another 14 days as authorities scramble to establish how the cases have been transmitted.
They will not be charged for their stays.
Mr Atta said guests were given no proper explanation, instead receiving a "vague letter with our breakfast".
"The media got a lot more information about what was going to happen than those affected," he said.
"The letter we got was vague to say the best. Nobody wants to answer questions, so we just sit here and wait.
"It's a total disgrace ... we have done everything right, not complained the whole time (and) kept positive because we thought we were doing the right thing - and then this overreaction.
"If it's not safe for me to leave as planned on Friday, then it can't be safe for the cricket and other things like that.
"All I know is myself and others are suffering because someone made a mistake.
"I understand what they are trying to do. But it hurts when we are treated like nothing and don't get told (why). Our lives are the ones turned upside down."
Another hotel guest, Geoff Crooks, had been due to leave the Grand Chancellor today.
"(I'm) just very, very angry," he said.
"We were due to leave this morning (and were) told at 11pm last night.
"My brother's funeral is tomorrow in Sydney."
He said he was angry people in the hotel had been exposed to the virus.
"They have known for a week. They keep telling us it's 70 per cent contagious, yet they keep us in here," Mr Crooks said.
Combined with 250 guests who had stayed at the hotel since December 30, 226 workers and 129 current guests who have been relocated to other hotels, it means more than 600 people will be forced into quarantine.
Queensland Premier Annastacia said having to do an additional 14 days of quarantine was going to be tough for Hotel Grand Chancellor guests. But she said it was necessary.
"What we are seeing is that this UK variant is unknown," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"I think we need to immediately look at the way in which we are handling people coming into the country ... and also too looking at the quarantine hotels that they are going into," she said.
Originally published as 'Total disgrace': Guests lash out over quarantine 'overreaction'