Air conditioning has been raised as a possible cause of transmission in the Queensland Grand Chancellor Covid-19 cluster, prompting more questions about the safety of using hotels to quarantine returning travellers.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the air conditioning would be one aspect examined as part of a major investigation into how four travellers, who were all staying on the same floor, a hotel cleaner and her partner became infected.
How did it get transmitted? Was it in the air conditioning? Was it movement? Was it picking up something? We just don’t know those answers yet. The investigation will go through that and we don’t know enough about this particular strain of the virus either, so we are dealing with something that is incredibly complex.
Health authorities are particularly concerned because those infected have the B117 variant of the virus, which was first identified in the UK and is highly transmissible.
Outbreaks in the community linked to hotel quarantine have now occurred in several states including Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, where more than 20,000 cases and 800 deaths have been reported throughout the pandemic.
Hotel quarantine was “of national concern, not just to Queensland, but everywhere else” Palaszczuk said. In the meantime, the Grand Chancellor has been closed and more than 120 people staying there have been moved to other accommodation to restart quarantine.