Covid can spread between quarantined hotel rooms, research finds


Research in New Zealand has revealed that Covid-19 can be transmitted between hotel rooms that share a hallway.

In one case in July, a single traveler quarantined at a hotel in Auckland infected three more in a room across the hall.

CCTV footage, contact tracing and genetic testing revealed the virus must have been transmitted through the air that escaped from the hotel room door in the hallway.

The case – published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – also showed the effectiveness of the vaccination.

The only fully vaccinated traveler in the rooms has not tested positive for Covid despite sharing a room with two positive companions for weeks.

The lone traveler in the July case had arrived from the Philippines, while the group that later contracted the virus arrived from the United Arab Emirates, tested negative on landing.

Neither party has been allowed to leave their hotel rooms, but doors have been opened from time to time for nurse checks and food deliveries.

This included some occasions when both doors were open at the same time.

“Security camera footage revealed four brief episodes of simultaneous door opening during Person A’s infectious period,” the research team wrote.

This follows a report in December that a traveler quarantined at a hotel in Hong Kong infected another in a separate room.

“Case A arrived in Hong Kong from South Africa on November 11, 2021 and case B arrived in Hong Kong from Canada on November 10, 2021. Both cases had already received two doses of the vaccine,” researchers wrote in the journal Emerging infectious diseases.

“Upon arrival at Hong Kong airport, both patients stayed in the same quarantine hotel and had rooms across from each other on the same floor.”

“The only time the two quarantined people opened their respective doors was to collect food that was placed immediately in front of each bedroom door. The only other time they could have opened their doors would be for (PCR coronavirus testing ), which were performed in three day intervals.

Genomic sequencing of samples from both individuals showed that they were infected with almost identical versions of the Omicron variant.

The state-run hotel quarantine is still a reality for travelers arriving in Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, among other countries.

The UK still has hotel quarantine measures in place for countries on its highest-risk red list, but the list was cleared for the second time on December 15.

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