Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor evacuated, Paul Kelly dismisses AstraZeneca COVID vaccine criticisms, NSW-Victoria border tensions rise amid 2021 Australian Open
The alert came as the Victorian government said it was not ready to make changes to any of the coronavirus red zones it had declared around the country, despite the Commonwealth clearing Sydney’s northern beaches area of its hotspot status on Wednesday.
Nearly 75,000 people from around the country had been issued with a permit by Victoria to travel to the state by Wednesday but those Victorians stranded in “red zones” of Brisbane and greater Sydney are still unable to legally come home without an exemption from their home state’s government.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly declared that the northern beaches were no longer considered a hotspot, in recognition of NSW’s success in bringing the outbreak under control.
Sydney’s northern beaches area was the scene of the “Avalon cluster” that led to scores of coronavirus infections and prompted a new wave of border closures and lockdown restrictions.
Queensland health authorities on Wednesday ordered the evacuation of a quarantine hotel and ordered more than 200 people back into isolation after six cases of the highly contagious UK strain of coronavirus were traced back to Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.
The first case connected to the hotel – where a cleaner became infected – triggered a three-day lockdown in Brisbane last weekend.
Amid concerns some of those who stayed at the hotel had crossed into NSW, the Victorian Health Department issued a warning for anyone who had quarantined at the hotel to isolate and contact the coronavirus hotline. There was no evidence on Wednesday evening that any of the returned travellers had entered into Victoria.