Quarantine hotel detainees party on in lockdown

 

LOCKDOWN tension fuelled by alcohol at a COVID quarantine hotel in Cairns had detainees flouting strict isolation regulations, balcony hopping and misbehaving while serving 14-day exclusions.

Since July 3 anyone arriving in the Far North from overseas or Victoria has been escorted from the airport to mandatory quarantine at city hotels by Australian Federal Police.

Queensland Health would not be drawn on numbers taken to the Pacific Hotel but it is understood up to 100 have been locked down at the Spence St accommodation.

Cairns mother of three Elizabeth Reeves returned from Victoria after her son had surgery at the Royal Children's Hospital.

The Pacific Hotel on Spence street is being used as a quarantine zone for Cairns residents returning from overseas. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The Pacific Hotel on Spence street is being used as a quarantine zone for Cairns residents returning from overseas. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

The family spent three days in the Pacific Hotel until being granted an exceptional circumstance provision by the chief medical officer.

"The hotel stay was fine, aside from our unique situation, which was the only thing that made it hard," she said.

Despite praising hotel staff and police stationed on every floor Ms Reeves did observe some guests lacked a willingness to do the right thing.

"People were arguing with police, screaming at them and slamming the doors and it was getting quite heated," she said.

A lone Australian Defence Force member sits in the foyer of the Pacific Hotel, to enforce quarantine measures in place to people to fly in to Australia from overseas. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
A lone Australian Defence Force member sits in the foyer of the Pacific Hotel, to enforce quarantine measures in place to people to fly in to Australia from overseas. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"They were balcony hopping to other rooms and getting drunk (and) mingling in other rooms. However, they (the police) managed to control the situation."

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said contact with other guests and staff was strictly prohibited.

"You must not leave your hotel room except in an emergency or to obtain essential medical care. You also must not let anyone into your hotel room," she said.

"As well as public health and health service staff, Australian Defence Force and Queensland Police Service personnel are helping to ensure proper support, monitoring and supervision of quarantined people."

A police spokesman said blatant disregard for the directions may result in fines.

Pacific Hotel general manager Tim Moloney said there had been one major incident involving an intoxicated guest since the hotel set up a quarantine zone five months ago.

"(But) we have got police here based onsite and the Defence Force, everything has been nipped in the bud if it has been an issue," he said.

Originally published as Quarantine hotel detainees party on in lockdown


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