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Queensland to begin weekly testing of all staff who work in hotel quarantine, Chief Health Officer says

Staff who work in Queensland hotels that are used for COVID-19 quarantine will be tested for coronavirus on a weekly basis, the state’s Chief Health Officer has announced.

The State Government made the call after a cluster in South Australia was traced to a cleaner who worked at a medi-hotel in Adelaide’s CBD.

South Australia has gone into a six-day, hard lockdown to try to stop a second wave.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the weekly testing of workers at quarantine hotels would begin next week.

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“At this stage, we’re not letting hotel workers go into the room, so hopefully they’re not having contact,” Dr Young said.

“The highest risk is actually police.

“They don’t have to remain in isolation or quarantine until they get the result.

“We will start testing staff who have direct contact with people who are in hotel quarantine, just as another level of assurance that we’re managing that risk.”

Earlier this week, the Queensland Government declared Adelaide a hotspot and shutdown the border.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said it was the right decision, despite criticism from the Federal Government.

“We see the Federal Government singling out Queensland in their criticism again, despite the fact that similar decisions have been made by Western Australia and Tasmania in relation to their borders,” she said.

Queensland recorded three new coronavirus infections overnight, all acquired overseas.

They have been moved from hotel quarantine to hospital.

“As a matter of practice, when someone is tested positive in hotel quarantine we move them into our hospitals, unlike other jurisdictions that regularly continue to have those positive residents kept in their hotels.”

A woman looks serious.
Queensland’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the testing of hotel workers was the right decision, despite criticism from the Federal Government.(ABC News: Rachel Riga)

Too few masks at Origin?

The State of Origin decider in Brisbane last night was played in front of a near-capacity crowd at Lang Park.

The Chief Health Officer had recommended footy fans wear a mask as they entered and left the venue.

However today, Dr Young did not seem to mind that hardly any masks were spotted in the crowd.

“I don’t believe we’ve got virus circulating in Queensland today,” Dr Young said.

“We acted very quickly to reduce that potential risk from South Australia so I think it was a reasonable thing that people chose not to wear masks.”

Player deregistered after refusing to self-isolate

Meanwhile, a Brisbane Bullets’ training player has been deregistered by the NBL, after refusing to self-isolate and take a COVID-19 test following the club’s trip to Adelaide.

American Najeal Young, 26, who is not a rostered Bullets player, travelled with the side for pre-season matches against the Adelaide 36ers last weekend.

Earlier this week, players and staff were ordered to get tested immediately and were told to enter a 14-day quarantine, after the recent coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide.

In a statement released by the Brisbane Bullets, CEO Peter McLellan said the club took the directions of the Government and Chief Health Officer very seriously.

“The health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and the broader community has always been our priority. Our players and staff affected will continue to self-isolate for a period of 14 days as directed.

“Players will complete a training program from home as they prepare for the 2020-21 NBL Season due to commence in mid-January.”

It is understood Young attended a junior training session as a coach on Tuesday afternoon at the Northside Wizards Basketball in Brendale.

“Northside Wizards Basketball has been advised that a WizKidz coach attended sessions at Brendale on Tuesday whilst he was required to be in self-isolation after travelling to Adelaide over the weekend,” Northside Wizards posted on their Facebook page.

The matter has been referred to the Basketball Australia Integrity Unit for investigation.

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