Guests from ‘hot’ quarantine hotel in CBD evacuated because of leak

High-risk guests at a Holiday Inn quarantine hotel in Melbourne’s CBD are being moved to a new location after a water leak damaged four floors.

A COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria spokeswoman said the hotel’s 31 guests were being moved along with staff to the Pullman Hotel in Albert Park on Tuesday, as repairs for water damage were carried out.

Hotel quarantine guests transferred from the Holiday Inn on Flinders Lane arrive at the Pullman Hotel in Albert ParkCredit:Simon Schluter

The Holiday Inn on Flinders Lane is one of two “hot” hotels, meaning those quarantining inside are either positive cases or close contacts of those with COVID-19.

“After a review of the available options, the Pullman Albert Park Hotel was assessed by ventilation experts and determined as the most suitable hotel within CQV’s current hotel stock to accommodate symptomatic and positive residents,” the spokeswoman said.

“Strict infection prevention and control measures will be followed during the transfer to ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and the community.”

On Saturday, a sprinkler system on the fourth floor activated despite there being no fire.

Staff in protective gear help transfer guests from the Holiday Inn on Flinders Lane on Tuesday.Credit:Luis Ascui

It caused damage to four of the eight floors, the government said.

Footage from outside the Flinders Lane hotel on Tuesday morning shows travellers being led onto waiting buses and driven to the Pullman one at a time.

One woman was seen walking to the bus wearing purple gloves and a garbage bag over her head, while being escorted by health staff in full protective gear.

Another man wearing a facemask can be seen carrying a young child onto the bus outside.

The opening of the Holiday Inn as a quarantine facility was initially delayed late last year to allow for extra ventilation to be installed because of the complex health needs of guests.

The Pullman hotel at Albert Park was previously used as a quarantine facility for international arrivals connected to the Australian Open.

The transfer of the hot hotel guests comes as Victoria records two more locally acquired cases of coronavirus.

There were also two more cases found in international arrivals. There are now 25 active cases in the state.

The new locally acquired cases, close household contacts of a previously confirmed case, take the number of infections linked to the Holiday Inn cluster to 19.

Victoria’s “circuit-breaker” lockdown is due to end on Wednesday, but Premier Daniel Andrews has not ruled out extending it. On Monday, he said it was too early to make a call about relaxing the stage four restrictions.

The cluster began at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport. The hot hotel being evacuated on Tuesday is the Holiday Inn on Flinders Lane.

It comes as a string of top hotels pull out of the quarantine program amid growing industry fears that the spate of recent coronavirus outbreaks leaking out via staff is causing reputational damage to operators.

At least a dozen hotels have withdrawn from the program, including Sydney’s five-star Hilton and InterContinental hotels and Melbourne’s Marriott.

Fire trucks were called to the Holiday Inn on Saturday. It was a false alarm – there was no fire and sprinklers caused water damage to four floors. Credit:Chris Hopkins

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