Victorian health authorities are imploring released travellers from a COVID-hit Brisbane quarantine hotel to self-isolate and get tested.
Late on Wednesday, Victoria’s health department told anyone in Victoria who has completed mandatory hotel quarantine at Brisbane’s Grand Chancellor hotel since December 30 to get tested and quarantine at home until they receive a negative result.
They should contact its coronavirus hotline immediately.
The health alert came as the Brisbane hotel was shut for deep cleaning after six people – four quarantining guests, a cleaner and her partner – contracted the highly contagious UK coronavirus strain.
Travel from the “red zones” of Greater Brisbane and Greater Sydney remains banned, with the state government defending its tough border restrictions.
While the state has reopened its border to regional NSW, thousands of Victorians have been stranded in Greater Sydney for almost two weeks.
Under the “traffic light” system, anyone coming into Victoria from interstate must apply for a permit, with those entering from “orange” zones such as regional NSW required to be tested within 72 hours of their return.
Only those who receive an exemption from the health department can enter from a “red” zone.
Almost 83,000 people have been issued permits since the system launched on Monday, some three hours later than planned due to a technical issue.
Government ministers Luke Donnellan and Martin Pakula defended the system at separate press conferences on Wednesday.
Mr Donnellan said the border restrictions were based on public health advice and took into consideration the number of active cases in a state as well as mystery cases.
“What may appear to be brutal and uncaring and the like is very much done with the interests of the Victorian public at heart to ensure we don’t have another situation where we have to lock down,” Mr Donnellan said.
“The idea of just saying let everything rip and then we’ll just deal with the consequences again, I don’t think the Victorian public wants (that).”
He said there was “no way known” the government would change its approach to managing the virus because people were “getting grumpy”.