‘Not fit for a family’: Mum-to-be's quarantine nightmare
A Queensland father and his pregnant wife have spoken out about the "unlivable" conditions in a Brisbane hotel room while mandatory quarantining, in an ordeal which has raised concerns about the care being offered to young families.
After arriving at the Next Hotel Brisbane on Wednesday, Grant - who wishes to keep his surname private - said he "didn't think things could get worse" after finding a used condom wrapper while setting up his son's cot.
But he and his 22-week pregnant wife Gina and their 16-month-old son became "distressed" when they were forced to wait nearly four hours for dinner despite claiming they called hotel staff every 5- 10 minutes.
"We made the call at 5:30 to ask about dinner, we hadn't eaten most of the day due to the travel, and they told us we will have the same menu for the next 14 days," Grant told The Courier-Mail.
"I ordered the lasagnes and they said they would get it organised for us. My son usually goes to sleep at about 7pm, when it got to about that time we called about seven times, I was calling every five to 10 minutes asking when we are going to get our food.
"My wife's 22-weeks pregnant and it wasn't until 9pm that night we got food after ordering at 5:30."
Grant said during that time, Gina was experiencing "stabbing pains" in her lower abdomen, forcing him to call paramedics to take her to hospital as she is deemed a high-risk pregnancy. She was taken to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital with high blood pressure.
Grant also told The Courier-Mail the menu offered doesn't offer adequate options for his son, who is anaphylactic with dairy, and his wife who is sensitive to certain foods during pregnancy.
The family want to be able to cook and prepare their own food, but say the hotel room isn't set up for long-term stay as there are no kitchen appliances.
"There's no ability for us to cook, the fridge in the room is the size of a mini bar," he said.
"Even if we did a Woolworths grocery order, we've got no ability to prepare or store food in the room, there's no access to a microwave or toaster or any basic essential items for us to get through as a young family - particularly with my son's food allergies and my wife's sensitivity to food while being pregnant.
"They don't have the facilities here for that, these aren't apartments. This is a hotel room that's great if you're staying the night or flying into the city and flying out, but it's not fit for a young family for two weeks. We are sort of at our wits end because we don't know who to speak to."
Upon asking staff for kitchen appliances, the family claim they were told the hotel didn't have the facilities available.
Grant has applied for a room change request on the grounds he is concerned about the welfare of his family and unborn child.
The Courier-Mail contacted Next Hotel Brisbane for a statement, where they said they "apologise unreservedly" for any difficulties or inconveniences guests have encountered during mandatory quarantine.
"Next Hotel Brisbane is actively supporting the local authorities in fighting the spread of the coronavirus by offering accommodations to guests who return from interstate travel. We would like to provide all guests the assurance that we have put in place all necessary health and safety practices and we have met all the requirements laid out by the authorities to host these guests," the statement read.
"Despite the unprecedented operating constraints associated with the evolving pandemic, our teams are working hard to ensure that all guests have a safe and pleasant stay, and have access where possible to the services they need. We apologise unreservedly for any difficulties or inconvenience that any of our guests may have encountered as a result of this.
"At the same time, we are working with the relevant authorities including Queensland Health to assist guests, especially families, who may require alternate arrangements more suited to their specific needs.
"The wellbeing of our guests remains paramount and all our efforts are made with this in mind. All feedback is taken seriously and we will continue to finetune and adjust our operations and services so that they are most appropriate for our guests during this challenging time.
A Queensland Health spokesperson said "all attempts have been made by the Queensland Government to source suitable accommodation for quarantine purposes".
"Every attempt will be made to ensure the rooms meet the requirements of the individuals.
"Initial complaints regarding hotel quarantine should be directed to the hotel"
Originally published as 'Not fit for a family': Pregnant woman's quarantine nightmare