A desperate hunt is underway for eight people who stayed on the same floor as a COVID ‘superspreader’ in Qld and have since left quarantine.
Authorities are racing to track down eight people who stayed on the same floor of a Brisbane hotel quarantine facility that housed a COVID-19 “superspreader”.
In the biggest test for Queensland since the three-day lockdown in January, fears are mounting the Russian variant spread throughout the eighth floor of the Hotel Mercure at North Quay.
The suspected superspreader travelled into Brisbane on February 17 from Doha on Qatar Airways flight QR898, and five other cases of the Russian variant, B1.1.317, have since been linked. All cases have been detected at the same hotel.
The flight then continued onto New Zealand, where another case has been confirmed.
While authorities do not hold the same fears about the Russian variant as they do the UK and South African strains, they concede they do not know enough about it, and have a four day “period of concern”.
Authorities are investigating whether any transmission occurred within the hotel between February 18 and 21.
Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said there were eight people, yet to be tracked down, who served their quarantine period on floor eight between those dates.
They have been told to isolate for 14 days since they left the hotel, or until March 7, whichever is sooner.
All 74 people who were on the same flight as the initial case have had their hotel quarantine period extended to Monday.
“I think it’s unlikely that it’s a risk, but it is a risk no matter how small so I just want to work that through,” Dr Young said.
“With multiple cases linked to flight QR898 and floor eight of the Mercure Brisbane Hotel, we need to ensure we protect the community
“The problem with it is not the variant, it’s the one individual. Through this pandemic we have had instances of super spread. I’m concerned that this individual is a superspreader. I’m not concerned about it being a Russian variant. It’s just another variant, no different.”
Dr Young said there was no risk to the community at this stage.
Search for 8 who left super spreader hotel