Extra CCTV cameras and police to surveil Queensland quarantine hotels
Queensland's top cop has ordered a full audit of all 18 quarantine hotels and wants to ensure CCTV cameras are installed on all hotel floors where returned overseas travellers are being housed.
The security camera coverage and police patrols checks are being done in the Four Points by Sheraton and Westin hotels, both in Brisbane City, while the remaining 16 quarantine hotels will also be reviewed and changes made if required during the next few weeks.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said smaller internal reviews had been conducted since March 2020, when the hotel quarantine operation was rolled out.
"While we were completely satisfied in the CCTV in hotels complimented with the amount of police and patrols we have, the last variant has really changed the game," she said.
"So I have asked for an audit of all hotels to make sure that not only do we have patrols, but also additional CCTV.
"Some of the hotels already have CCTV, but I really want to up the ante here to make sure we have every aspect of every floor covered in the future."
Ms Carroll said 187 people entered Queensland hotel quarantine on Thursday, of whom 142 were international travellers and 45 domestic arrivals.
Since March 27 last year, 40,660 international travellers have been processed in Brisbane and 32,218 of those were directed into hotel quarantine.
"When you look at the sheer mass of numbers it’s been quite an extraordinary effort and yes it has ben an extraordinary learning process," Ms Carroll said.
"But we are good at reviewing and learning, implementing and being ahead of the game."
Ms Carroll said all quarantine hotels housing overseas travellers would increase CCTV coverage and ramp up patrols, but the same emphasis may not be placed on hotels with interstate arrivals.
On Thursday, 81 domestic flights arrived in the state and 11 of those were from declared COVID-19 hotspots. There were 2200 passengers processed, with seven refused entry.
At the road borders, in the past 24 hours, 5220 vehicles were intercepted, 12 were turned around and 20 people were refused entry into Queensland.
Ms Carroll also responded to criticism from Queensland Police Union vice-president Shane Prior regarding an apparent lack of communication between Queensland Health and police officers forced into quarantine by the Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster.
Mr Prior complained on Facebook on Thursday of an "absolute debacle" after Queensland Health department failed to tell some of the more than 70 officers now in quarantine, how and when they would be tested and able to return to duties.
"I understand that the police were frustrated that they hadn't received any phone calls, but my police had actually been contacted by us a number of times and in fairness to Queensland Health, they have had to make hundreds and hundreds of telephone calls," Ms Carroll said.
"When I was approached by my staff about that yesterday, I spoke to Jeannette [Dr Young] and we put a process in place so that we could inform our staff what needed to be done.
"I can understand the frustration, but definitely I think we need to be patient in the most challenging times we've ever found ourselves in."
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