The lockdown of greater Brisbane hospitals and aged care facilities will be lifted as the coronavirus outbreak is brought under control but fears of the ineffectiveness of hotel quarantine remains.
Restrictions were imposed last week when a doctor from Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital tested positive to COVID-19 after coming into contact with infected returning overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.
Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the Sunshine State’s response to the outbreak had been “excellent” but cautioned about the increasingly transmittal power of the virus.
She said she had personally seen stills from CCTV footage from the floor of the Hotel Grand Chancellor, where a returning traveller infected another at the other end of the hotel’s floor.
“Those two individuals did not step outside the doors of their rooms and no-one went into those rooms,” she said.
“So we know that corridors are a problem. We absolutely know it and know the virus can come out of a room and go into the corridor and because of the ventilation system, we know it can be there.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters restrictions on hospitals, aged care and disability services would be lifted at noon on Friday.
“This is fantastic news and I know there are a lot of people out there that need to go and see their loved ones,” she said.
The positive result in the community last week came after a returning traveller who tested positive to the UK strain of COVID-19 while quarantining at the Hotel Grand Chancellor last week was transferred to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
A female doctor said to have used “appropriate” PPE was exposed to the virus while treating the patient on Wednesday before spending Thursday out in the South Brisbane community.
She was tested at the end of last week after developing symptoms and returned a positive result later in the day.
As a result, patrons of a cafe in the West End, a Greenslopes gym and the Stones Corner Hotel were ordered to get tested immediately and isolate.
Queensland’s deputy chief health officer Sonya Bennett confirmed on Monday morning that genomic sequencing had shown a second guest at the Hotel Grand Chancellor had contracted the same strain of COVID-19.
The two cases were staying on the same floor of the hotel, and authorities are scouring over security footage to determine if there is a chain of transmission.
As a result, the facility was thrust into a 72-hour lockdown, with no guests allowed to leave and no further guests admitted until Wednesday.
On Friday, the Sunshine State recorded no new locally acquired cases but nine were detected among overseas travellers, taking the total number of active cases to 57.