One child and a family member have tested positive for coronavirus after three young children were rushed from a quarantine hotel to hospital for emergency treatment.
A convoy of ambulances arrived at the Hilton hotel in Sydney’s CBD at about 10pm on Tuesday, with paramedics rushing inside and returning with three sick children on stretchers, all wearing protective face masks.
A police source told Daily Mail Australia the children were being transported to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for COVID-19 treatment after experiencing symptoms of the deadly disease.
Distraught adults walked beside medics as they moved the children into waiting ambulances, with another girl, no older than seven, skipping behind them while their concerned parents followed close behind.
Three children are rushed from a coronavirus quarantine hotel in Sydney to hospital on Tuesday night
A convoy of ambulances arrived at the Hilton resort in the city’s CBD at about 10pm on Tuesday to transport the patients
A police source told Daily Mail Australia the children were being transported to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for COVID-19 treatment
The family’s luggage was brought out moments after the children, wrapped in layers of plastic, and taken straight to the waiting ambulance by staff wearing protective equipment.
No information on the condition of the children or their ages was available early on Wednesday morning.
The Hilton is among the Sydney hotels housing hundreds of Australians who have been ordered to quarantine for 14 days after returning from overseas.
Just down the road at the five-star Hotel Swissotel, the first group of return travellers were released after finishing their two-week forced isolation period at midnight on Tuesday.
About 3,000 people are staying at 11 hotels across the city after arriving from overseas, as part of tough Federal Government measures to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
A NSW Health Department spokesman said 84 of those had been tested for COVID-19 after displaying symptoms, with 24 returning positive results.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said 288 Australians had been released from the Swissotel on Wednesday morning, but 30 had chosen to stay in their hotel rooms while sorting out their travel arrangements home.
Pictured: Officers watch on as three children are escorted from the Hilton in Sydney on Tuesday night
Medical staff dressed in protective gear wheel hospital beds into the Hilton in Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday
A child is put into an ambulance outside the Hilton hotel in Sydney on Tuesday night before receiving treatment at RPA
24 returned travellers in hotel isolation in Sydney test positive to coronavirus
More than 20 returned travellers in forced quarantine at five-star hotels in Sydney have been confirmed to have COVID-19, it can be revealed.
About 3,000 people are staying at 11 hotels across the city after arriving from overseas, as part of tough Federal Government measures to stop the spread of the deadly bug.
A NSW Health Department spokesman on Tuesday said 84 of those had been tested for the virus after displaying symptoms, with 24 returning positive results.
Daily Mail Australia has been told some of the infected were taken to hospital, though it is unclear if others will be forced to extend their stays at the hotels.
Travellers at the Swissotel, who were passengers on the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship, returned from Hawaii on an emergency Qantas flight on March 26.
While many of those in quarantine had complained on social media about being locked down in the luxury hotels during their stay, it was all smiles at 4am on Wednesday as they tasted freedom for the first time in two weeks.
Married couple Michelle and Terri rushed from the hotel about 1am on Wednesday, eager to make the four-hour trip home to Port Macquarie.
The parents, who did not share their last names, struggled to fit all their luggage in the car – along with a few stockpiled necessities.
‘We heard stories about the toilet paper shortage,’ Michelle explained to Daily Mail Australia as she tried to squeeze bags into a hatchback BMW.
‘We thought it was a joke at first, but then we learned the truth, so here we are. We stocked up and got the groceries delivered here to take home.’
Michelle said her family had spent seven weeks dodging coronavirus, and were now nervous to be returning home, where cases have skyrocketed in recent days.
Port Macquarie has emerged as a regional COVID-19 hotspot, with 29 people being diagnosed in the coastal New South Wales town.
‘We’re heading to one of the worst impacted areas in Australia. We’re just going to have to isolate at home as best we can until it passes,’ Michelle said.
Married couple Michelle and Terri rushed out of the Swissotel about 1am on Wednesday, eager to get home to Port Macquarie
Michelle (pictured) joked she was ‘coming out of this dead or divorced,’ while speaking to Daily Mail Australia early on Wednesday morning
Michelle and Terri packed the car with groceries and luggage early on Wednesday morning. They got groceries delivered to their hotel after hearing about the bare shelves at supermarkets due to coronavirus
But the family are dreading yet another isolation period.
‘We were itching to get out of there. We’re surprised there wasn’t a stampede. We were just so ready to leave,’ Michelle said of choosing to leave in the dead of night rather than wait until morning.
‘It was really difficult in there. It really was,’ she said.
‘Government departments weren’t communicating with each other, and just being stuck indoors. The food, the whole process. It was difficult.
One man shrieked three times as he stepped outside for the first time in 14 days early on Wednesday morning
Police helped guests at the Swissotel pack their belongings into taxis outside the building in Sydney’ CBD
A couple prepare to leave the luxury hotel after being stuck indoors for 14 days after returning from Hawaii
A woman smiles to the camera as she excitedly heads home after her two weeks in quarantine at Swissotel
‘We had the whole shebang before we were able to leave. We had medical testing, police checks, piles of paperwork.’
The family said they never got to enjoy their Hawaiian getaway as they packed their unused flippers and snorkels into the back of the car.
When they learned they would be forced to isolate in the five-star hotel upon returning home, Michelle and Terri both said they were wary.
‘I said: ”I’m coming out of this dead or divorced”,’ Michelle laughed, while Terry added: ‘Try being cooped up in a 5×4 room with two women for that long!’
The pair spent the isolation period with their daughter, Danni, while their son waited back at home, having decided to not to go on the family holiday.
‘Yeah, we’re lucky. He had to look after the dog while we were here. We’re all just so excited to give our dog a kiss and walk him,’ Michelle said.
The travellers, who were passengers on the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship, returned from Hawaii on an emergency Qantas flight on March 26. They have now completed two weeks in quarantine
Police help the return travellers leave the Swissotel in the early hours of Wednesday morning following two weeks in lockdown
A man wheels his luggage out of the Swissotel on Wednesday morning as he prepares to head home after completing quarantine
Some return travellers wore face masks as they stepped outside for the first time in 14 days
Others holed up at the Swissotel described the entire quarantine process as ‘very disorganised’ and a ‘bit crazy’.
‘I felt a bit like I was in a nursing home, some days things wouldn’t turn up, like our food, other times it’d all be on top of each other. There wasn’t much we could do about it,’ Cheryl Gjoni said of her 14-day stay in the hotel.
She and her husband were on the red-eye bus to Sydney domestic airport, eager to get home to Melbourne as soon as possible after their derailed holiday.
‘It will be good to get home,’ she said.
‘We didn’t leave earlier in the night because we were told we’d get stopped by police, but I must admit the police have been absolutely fantastic. They’ve carried my luggage down, they’ve been so friendly. It’s really great to see.
‘We’re really just excited to see our family. My daughter booked this flight home as soon as we arrived here basically.’
The couple also learned of the panic-buying hysteria in supermarkets across the nation while in quarantine.
‘We’re going to need to stock up on groceries when we arrive home,’ she laughed.
‘I’m not sure how busy this bus will be, but the flight home at 7am will be busy.’
A man in a face mask leaves the Swissotel on Wednesday morning after completing his two week quarantine
More than people streamed out of the hotel as the clock struck 12, piling into the dozens of waiting taxis and shuttle buses ready to take them home
A returned traveller in coronavirus quarantine at the Swissotel is seen on a bus moments after he was allowed to leave the building for the first time in 14 days
In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, NSW Police said all travellers would undergo a final health check before being allowed to leave the hotel.
‘Police have been coordinating with the travellers to collate onward travel plans and determine how best to assist their repatriation home, whether in NSW or interstate,’ NSW Police said in a statement.
‘All travellers will undergo a final health check before departing the hotel and will still be required to adhere to all other directions under the Public Health Act as they make their way home.’
The process seemed painless during the early hours of Wednesday as people exited the building and hopped straight into waiting cars.
Every person who left was wearing a face mask, but officers who were coming into close contact with them carrying their bags and helping them into cars didn’t wear any protective gear.
Rachel Deering and her husband were two of the first people who were free to leave the Swissotel on Wednesday morning, heading straight toward public transport to make the journey home.
Ms Deering told Daily Mail Australia the couple were itching to get home after their two weeks in mandatory isolation but she said she had no issues with her stay at the luxury hotel.
Cheryl Gjoni and her husband were on the red-eye bus to Sydney domestic airport, eager to get home to Melbourne as soon as possible after their disastrous holiday
Pictured: Australia’s coronavirus infection rate between February 27 and April 7
‘Australians need to wake up. This is real,’ she said.
Ms Deering said she was most excited to visit her grandson in Canberra when this whole ordeal ends.
‘We all just need to put in a little extra care over the next few months,’ she said.
At least 12 police, military personnel and hotel staff were waiting out the front ready to help people into their cars.
One man, who left the building with a woman wearing pink sweats, shrieked three times as he stepped outside for the first time in 14 days before leaping into the taxi.
Before leaving, he said: ‘It’s just so good to be outside.’
The first of 5,000 returned travellers walked free from the Swissotel (pictured), in Sydney’s CBD, on Wednesday morning after spending 14 days locked inside
Meanwhile, Australia suffered through its deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday as seven people died, taking the death toll to 48.
The latest casualties included an international traveller in his 70s who caught the deadly respiratory infection on the Artania cruise ship, and a woman in the same age bracket who is believed to have contracted the virus overseas.
Despite the spike in deaths, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Tuesday that it appeared Australia was flattening the curve as the number of newly diagnosed cases decreases daily.
But health advisers warned Australia would wade back into dangerous waters quickly if people stop abiding by social distancing measures.
Government data presented today showed the number of new daily cases spiked at 460 on 28 March and has been decreasing since. On 6 April there were 104 new cases.
So far 48 people have died from coronavirus in Australia, including seven deaths confirmed on Tuesday
Data presented today shows how Australia’s new coronavirus cases have been decreasing since 28 March
One of the scientists who worked on new modelling released today suggested Australia has passed the peak of the infection rate but faces an ‘explosive resurgence’ if restrictions are relaxed.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 5,997
New South Wales: 2,734
Western Australia: 470
South Australia: 415
Australian Capital Territory: 97
Northern Territory: 28
TOTAL CASES: 5,997
Professor James McCaw of Melbourne University’s Doherty Institute warned: ‘We expect to see a further decline in cases… [but if we] went back to normal we would see a rapid and explosive resurgence in epidemic activity.’
Mr Morrison said it is crucial that people stay home during the Easter long weekend.
Temperatures are expected to reach a comfortable 28C and sunny in Brisbane, 27C in Perth and 21C in Sydney, but families have been urged to resist the temptation to head to the nearest beach to celebrate.
The PM warned that people who flout social distancing rules could cause the rate of increase to pick up once more.
‘Failure to stay at home this weekend would completely undo everything we have achieved so far together – and potentially worse,’ he said.
On Tuesday the government released the Institute’s modelling based on global data, showing how restrictions reduce the spread of the virus.
If no action were taken, 89 per cent of Australians might catch the virus and only 15 per cent of people requiring ICU beds would get one, causing mass deaths.
That is a ‘horrendous scenario’ which is highly unlikely, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said.
What does the coronavirus modelling show?
If no measures are taken
The theoretical modelling finds an uncontrolled COVID-19 pandemic scenario would overwhelm our health system for many weeks. 89 per cent of people would catch the virus, with 38 per cent requiring some medical care.
ICUs would be stretched well beyond capacity for a prolonged period. Only 15 per cent of people requiring ICU beds would be able to access one, even with the expanded ICU capacity in the model.
This graph shows three scenarios based on no restrictions (grey), quarantine (light blue) and social distancing (dark blue)
With quarantine and isolation
Quarantine and isolation would reduce the proportion of people who would catch the virus to 68 per cent, and those needing medical care to 29 per cent. Only an estimated 30 per cent of people requiring ICU beds would be able to access them.
With social distancing restrictions
If social distancing measures reduces transmission by 25 per cent, the proportion of people infected would be 38 per cent with 16 per cent requiring some medical care.
Eighty per cent of people who need ICU beds could access them.
With a 33 per cent reduction in transmission due to social distancing, the proportion of people infected is 12 per cent and only five per cent require some medical care.
In that scenario, everyone who needs an ICU bed over the course of the pandemic could access one.
The modelling finds our ICUs will cope if we continue to have effective social distancing, increase our health system capacity, and isolate people with the virus and their close contacts.
This table shows the proportion of each age group who require hospitalisation if they are infected with the disease