Friday on my mind: Premier to lift restrictions despite cluster mystery

With pandemic restrictions set to be eased in Brisbane on Friday, the cluster may end before authorities even know how it began.

Jan 18, 2021, updated Jan 18, 2021
Photo: ABC

Photo: ABC

Six people were infected with the more contagious UK strain of COVID-19, all linked, via guests or an infected cleaner, to the seventh floor of the Hotel Grand Chancellor. How the virus breached quarantine remains a mystery.

While an immediate lockdown has been credited with containing the outbreak, Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski today reiterated the need for a thorough investigation into the cause of the cluster.

“There are several hundred people that are in the process of being interviewed,” Gollschewski said.

Contact tracing has led to 864 other people being tested for COVID-19, with the results all negative, although it will still be some days before everyone is in the clear.

The results of environmental swabs of the hotel and tests of the air-conditioning are not yet available, however Gollschewski said authorities were “still not seeing anything obvious that causes us concern”.

Not only had hotel staff been helpful, but Gollschewski said the evidence to date suggested the hotel had done everything it should have done before losing its quarantine role.

Gollschewski has played a key role during the pandemic. The arrival of Cyclone Kimi off the North Queensland coast means that, for the first time, he will also be performing his role of state disaster coordinator at emergency headquarters at Kedron.

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Queensland recorded one new case of COVID-19 overnight in a woman already in hotel quarantine after returning from Brazil. There are 25 active cases.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland was tracking well to have restrictions eased as scheduled, now that greater Brisbane is no longer deemed a federal hotspot.

“It’s more than likely that all of those restrictions will be removed by Friday,” Palaszczuk said.

“That would be a wonderful sign, of course, to our economy as well, that things can get back to normal.”

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