Virus transmission reported in WA hotel quarantine after man infected by guest next door

WA chief health officer Andy Robertson said genetic sequencing confirmed the transmission happened in the hotel.

WA chief health officer Andy Robertson said genetic sequencing confirmed the transmission happened in the hotel. Photo: ABC News

Another person has been infected with COVID-19 while staying in a Perth quarantine hotel and authorities are urgently investigating how it took place.

The Health Department confirmed the virus was transmitted between two guests in neighbouring rooms at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Genome sequencing data confirmed they had the same sequence of virus.

It is not yet known how transmission occurred.

WA’s chief health officer Andrew Robertson said a man flew into Perth from Colombia via the US on May 21 and was accommodated in the Pan Pacific Hotel.

On May 23 he was found to be positive.

A man in the room next door had arrived in Perth on May 16 and had tested negative to COVID-19 twice before he tested positive on his day 13 test.

The Pan Pacific Hotel had previously advised WA Health that its rooms were “negative pressure”.

Rooms at end of corridor

Deputy chief health officer Robyn Lawrence said the men had been in rooms at the end of a corridor.

She said recent cases of transmission in hotels elsewhere in the country had also occurred in guests staying at the end of corridors.

Last Friday, a decision was made not to house returned travellers in such rooms in future.

Dr Lawrence said most of the other people on that floor of the Pan Pacific Hotel were in rooms “quite a distance” from the infected men, so it was deemed safe for them to leave on completion of their 14-day quarantine periods.

“They’re being followed up daily, with public health calling them every day to make sure they are not developing any symptoms,” she said.

“There’s a couple that are maritime workers and a decision was made that it would be inappropriate for them to go out onto a vessel.”

“They all remain in Western Australia so we are quite confident that we’ve got daily contact with them and a good relationship, and that it’s safe at this point in time.”

Another family of three who were in a room closer to the infected men, diagonally across the hall, remained in the hotel as their quarantine period was yet to finish.

Dr Lawrence said it would be reassessed closer to the completion of their 14 days of quarantine whether they could be released, but in the meantime they had been moved to a different room.


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