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What may be driving increasingly frequent COVID-19 leaks from quarantine hotels

Ross and Russel
Article image for What may be driving increasingly frequent COVID-19 leaks from quarantine hotels

There are growing concerns that highly infectious COVID-19 strains are fuelling more frequent leaks of the virus out of quarantine hotels.

It comes after three new cases were connected to Victoria’s quarantine program in just one week.

A woman working at one quarantine hotel, the Holiday Inn near Melbourne Airport, returned a positive COVID-19 test on Sunday night.

Last week, a worker at a tennis quarantine hotel contracted the UK variant of the virus, while in another case, the UK strain of the virus jumped from a family of five to a person in the room opposite.

Infectious diseases experts believe newer, more contagious strains of the virus may explain the more frequent leaks from quarantine.

“It seems these overseas variants, especially with South Africa, the UK and now Brazil, seem to be more transmissible from an infected person to those that aren’t infected,” President of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Professor Malcolm Sim, told Ross and Russel.

“There’s a great deal of interest in ventilation in hotels. They were never created for this sort of purpose,” he said.

“I think we do need to look at this question of opening and closing doors, keeping that to a minimum.

“Perhaps the non-disposable respirators may be something to consider in certain situations.”

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Ross and Russel
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