There is serious concern brewing after a viral video exposed a potential major flaw in Australia’s hotel quarantine system.
Taize Taylor is midway through his two-week quarantine stint inside the Crown Plaza in Surfers Paradise, on Queensland’s Gold Coast, and uploaded the clip on Sunday.
The 27-year-old filmed as air gushed rapidly through a gap in the door adjoining his room with that of another man in hotel quarantine on level nine of the hotel.
“Here’s how leaks keep causing outbreaks,” the caption to his video, which has been viewed 104,000 times, read.
With it unclear whether his neighbour had flown in from overseas or interstate, there was no way Mr Taylor could gauge how at-risk he was of potentially being infected.
Strict protocols on guests opening their front doors and being banned from opening balcony doors and using bathroom exhaust fans make the allowance of such a forceful draught between rooms hard to believe.
Australia Institute of Occupational Hygienists president Kate Cole said health authorities in Australia had yet to take the updated advice into consideration.
“They’re saying now what we as scientists have been saying for the majority of this pandemic,” she told newsGP.
“The challenge now for us in Australia [is that] our official guidance from the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG) still doesn’t acknowledge airborne transmission or aerosol spread in the same way that WHO does or in keeping with the latest science, unfortunately.
“What that’s doing is restricting access to airborne precautions or strong safety measures to keep people safe from aerosol spread of Covid, and we’re seeing the results of this, unfortunately, in hotel quarantine.”
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Guest urged to move immediately
Dozens of comments to Mr Taylor’s video suggested that he ask to move rooms immediately due to the strength of the air entering his room.
“Report it. This happened to my parents and they had to be moved to another hotel. That was in South Australia,” one person wrote.
“Move rooms immediately. My dad is an airline pilot and he always has to move rooms when they put him next to people in quarantine,” another said.
Mr Taylor responded saying he had raised the issue with a nurse at the hotel, Queensland Health and the hotel itself, but all attempts had fallen on deaf ears.
He confirmed all windows and doors were closed inside his room, ruling out that the gust was the result of an exposed balcony.
Others plainly suggested: “Hotels aren’t meant for this.”
A person quarantining in the same hotel wrote that she too was in an adjoining room and had noticed wind blowing into her room from her neighbour.
Queensland Health and Crowne Plaza have been contacted for comment.