Fears mutant virus spread in Sydney hotel

Health authorities are scrambling to trace the possible transmission of the South African strain of COVID-19 after three returned travellers who stayed at a Sydney hotel became infected.

Genomic testing shows they each share the same viral sequence for the B1.351 variant.

The travellers entered Australia on April 3 on the same flight and stayed in adjacent rooms at the Mercure Hotel on George Street in Sydney's CBD.

The Mercure Hotel on George Street.
The Mercure Hotel on George Street.

"All three people, two of whom are members of the same family, tested negative on their day-two swabs in hotel quarantine, before subsequently testing positive for COVID-19 later during their quarantine periods," NSW Health said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The two family members stayed in connecting rooms on the 10th floor of the hotel, while the third person was in an adjacent room.

"The family members tested positive on days seven and 10 of their stay, while the person in an adjacent room tested positive on day 12."

NSW Health is examining what happened. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
NSW Health is examining what happened. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

All three have been transferred to the special health accommodation, where they will remain until they are no longer infectious.

NSW Health is urgently contacting people who stayed on the same floor between April 7 and 12.

They are directed to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days from the day they left quarantine.

Hotel staff who worked on the 10th floor at the Mercure are also being tested and self-isolating.

 

Originally published as Fears mutant virus spread in Sydney hotel



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