The Australian state of Victoria is currently witnessing the second wave of Coronavirus cases. But travelers warn that the situation in Queensland could go out of control soon as authorities, despite mandatory testing, are refusing to give one.
Queensland has managed to contain the outbreak with just one new case being reported in the last 24 hours (from July 20) with a total case of 1,072. But if travelers are to be believed, the truth behind the Australian state's low number is a lack of testing.
Denied Covid-19 Test
Dane Lam, who was in quarantine at a Westin hotel in Brisbane, claimed he wasn't tested for COVID-19 and was released. If that was shocking, the Principal Conductor of a Chinese Xi'an Symphony Orchestra, said that quarantined people were allowed to take 20-minute fresh air breaks at the hotel and there was no social distancing being followed during that time.
"We weren't tested once. We did get phone calls asking if we had any symptoms but I think that puts a lot of onus on people who don't want to be locked up," Lam told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"The officers would escort you to the pool deck, and there could be 10 or more people there at any one time, and at first we didn't have to wear masks, although towards the end they started making us wear masks," he added.
However, the lapse in the quarantine process worried him even though he was "fine". "It's just that, with the outbreak in Victoria (mercifully small by world standards), any holes in the quarantine system can be sparks that could ignite a resurgence in what has been an excellent strategy here in Queensland," he said, adding that it could potentially be disastrous.
Lam's case isn't an isolated one though. In another incident, a woman, who returned from the U.S., stayed at the same Westin Hotel asked to be tested three times but was refused every time.
"The whole thing was just so well done, but these two things — a lack of testing and allowing guests in a common area — seemed out of place," she said. "Such simple things when they're doing everything else to such maximum effort, it just seems very strange."
Tests Now Being Conducted
Queensland Health Department, which has mandated testing, said that testing was a part of the hotel quarantine program and every visitor must be given one. Any one refusing to be tested would attract penalties and a further 10-day quarantine period at his/her own expenses.
"It is a requirement that all people entering quarantine in government-arranged accommodation must be tested before the end of their 14-day quarantine," a spokesperson from the Queensland Health told Brisbane Times in a statement.
"The COVID-19 test is included as part of the quarantine, and is carried out by trained local public health unit clinicians within the government-arranged accommodation," it added.
In Victoria, the situation is spiraling out of control with another 275 new cases being added to its tally. In all, Australia has reported 361 new cases as of July 20 with a total case of 12,069 as per John Hopkins University & Medicine.