There are serious concerns after a viral video revealed a potential major flaw in Australia’s hotel quarantine system.
Taize Taylor is halfway through her two-week stay in quarantine inside the Crown Plaza in Surfers Paradise, Queensland’s Gold Coast, and uploaded the clip on Sunday.
The 27-year-old filmed as air shot rapidly through a gap in the door adjoining his room with that of another man in quarantine at the hotel on the new level of the hotel.
“This is how the leaks continue to cause epidemics,” read the caption of his video, which has been viewed 104,000 times.
As it was not clear whether his neighbor had come from overseas or from state to state, Mr Taylor had no way of assessing how potentially infected he risked being.
Strict protocols on guests opening their front doors and the ban on opening balcony doors and using bathroom exhaust fans make it hard to believe the possibility of drafts too powerful between rooms.
It comes after an update from the World Health Organization in April acknowledged that Covid-19 was airborne and could travel significant distances.
Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists president Kate Cole said Australian health authorities have yet to take into account the updated advice.
“They are now saying what we as scientists have said about the majority of this pandemic,” she told newsGP.
“The challenge now for us in Australia [is that] our official Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG) guidelines still don’t recognize airborne transmission or aerosol spread in the same way as the WHO or in accordance with the latest scientific advances, unfortunately.
â€œWhat this does is restrict access to airborne precautions or strict security measures to protect people from the spread of Covid aerosols, and we are seeing the results, unfortunately, in hotel quarantine. “
Guest invited to move immediately
Dozens of comments on Mr Taylor’s video suggested that he request to be moved to another room immediately due to the force of the air entering his room.
“Report it. It happened to my parents and they had to be moved to another hotel. It was in South Australia, â€wrote one person.
â€œMove the rooms immediately. My dad is an airline pilot and he always has to change rooms when they put him next to people in quarantine, â€said another.
Mr Taylor responded by saying he 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 that all windows and doors were closed inside his room, ruling out that the gust was the result of an exposed balcony.
Others simply suggested, â€œHotels are not made for this.
A person in quarantine at the same hotel wrote that she too was in an adjoining room and noticed that the wind was blowing in her room from her neighbor.
Queensland Health and Crowne Plaza have been contacted for comment.