There are fears of a breach in one of Sydney’s quarantine hotels after authorities discovered the virus had jumped between three returned travelers. NSW Health released an alert on Tuesday night saying they are investigating the source of a Covid-19 case diagnosed in hotel quarantine which has an identical viral sequence to two patients staying in an adjacent room.
“It is currently unclear how and where transmission occurred from a couple to another returned traveler who was all staying on the fourth floor of the Radisson Blu quarantine hotel,” NSW Health said. All three cases have identical viral sequences of the Alpha Covid-19 strain, formerly referred to as the “UK variant”. The couple were asymptomatic and tested positive to the virus on June 3 during the second day of their hotel quarantine stay.
The other traveller returned a negative Day 2 test on June 3 before subsequently developing symptoms and testing positive for Covid-19 following on June 5. All three cases arrived into Sydney on the same flight from Doha on June 1 and stayed in adjacent rooms in the quarantine hotel. They were all transferred to the Special Health Accommodation following their positive test results, where they remain.
Health authorities are now scrambling to figure out exactly how transmission between these two parties occurred. “Early possibilities as to where transmission may have occurred from the couple to the second case include on the flight, on transport from the airport to the hotel, in the lobby of the hotel, or while in quarantine,” NSW Health said. “Currently, there is no evidence of further transmission.”
All returned travelers who were on the same floor of the hotel between June 1 and 5 and have since been discharged are being contacted and asked to get tested and isolate at home until receiving further advice from NSW Health. Staff who worked on the hotel’s fourth floor between June 1 and June 5 have also been asked to get tested and isolated, pending further advice. All staff working in NSW quarantine hotels undertake regular rapid saliva testing as part of Covid-19 surveillance testing.