A quarantine hotel in Sydney is so filthy police have launched a military-style operation to evacuate 366 returned travellers.
Daily Mail Australia has been told dozens of isolated guests, who paid up to $3,000 for their mandatory 14-day stay, complained about the ‘disgusting’ conditions inside Travelodge Hotel in the CBD.
The 12-hour operation to move them to ‘more suitable’ accommodation began on Tuesday afternoon.
Among the complaints were that sofa beds were covered in hair, there were toenail clippings on floors and bathrooms were ‘unhygienic’.
One guest claimed her bathroom was so dirty she couldn’t take a shower.
‘The handles and tables were all sticky … [there were] clumps of someone else’s hair on the sofa, another girl had so much hair on her sofa that she put it into a ziplock, and it fills the ziplock,’ she told HuffPost Australia.
Another guest said she had a ‘panic attack’ and ‘couldn’t stop crying’ after arriving at the quarantine hotel.
Travel Agent Kelsey Burrows arrived landed in Sydney from Ireland on Saturday.
The 30-year-old, who lost her job in Dublin in March before making the tough decision to fly home, was feeling jet-lagged and ‘fragile’ when she arrived at Travelodge and saw cockroaches in her room.
‘I went into panic mode when I saw them,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I called reception and the health line because I just wanted them gone, and they sent me some bug spray.’
Luke Smith, 27, checked into the hotel on Monday and found a bloodstained mattress, mould in the bin and hair on the floor.
‘It felt like you wanted to wear shoes the whole time. It was pretty disgusting,’ he told The Australian.
Mr Smith, who paid $3,000 for his mandatory quarantine room, said the lack of hygiene was a ‘hazard’.
‘It’s not right to be paying for this, locked up in a room. It raises concerns when the bathroom is unclean, there is hair on the bed.’
A number of horrified guests also shared their experiences in Facebook groups.
‘Multiple random hairs on the blanket, grimy tiles and random marks on the walls and door in the bathroom. No fresh air is the worst,’ one woman wrote.
‘Add to that there is no room to move or exercise causing further mental health deterioration and general low feeling.’
Last week, a former guest wrote a Google review of the hotel, claiming it had ‘filthy’ shower curtains and the flush on the toilet wouldn’t work properly.
‘The air conditioner would not stay on warm. It kept defaulting to cool. I was frozen. The food left a lot to be desired.’
Another guest posted a picture on Facebook of white residue on the carpet near her bed when she stayed at the facility in May.
‘Leaky toilet on arrival and very dirty carpets. No fresh air and a musty room,’ she wrote, adding that hotel staff gave her a vacuum to clean it up.
‘It shook my faith that the quarantine system was set up appropriately and managed effectively.’
Ms Burrows said she was startled at 5.30 on Tuesday afternoon by a voice on the PA telling guests to prepare for evacuation within two hours, but was relocated to Sydney’s Novatel four hours later.
‘There was no indication as to why or where we were going.’
Mr Smith said the announcement was ‘like Big Brother’.
A Travelodge Hotels spokeswoman apologised to one patron ‘for the errant hair and the residue cleaning powder on her carpet’.
‘That is certainly not the standard we pride ourselves on and, as soon as we were alerted, we did everything we could to safely rectify the situation,’ they said.
‘The bathroom tiles are weathered, but they were clean.’
Police said 366 returned travellers were evacuated because quarantine hotels are expected to have ‘robust infection control measures in place’.
It is understood Travelodge has been dumped from the quarantine program and the returned travellers will be relocated to other hotels in the CBD.
Police said they work closely with NSW Health to ensure quarantine hotels ‘comply with the highest standards’.
‘The health, safety and comfort of all quarantined travellers remains a top priority for NSW Police.’
More than 50,000 people have entered mandatory quarantine in NSW Police-managed hotels, with 4185 people currently in 16 hotels across Sydney.
It comes as NSW reported just three new coronavirus cases overnight.
Two of the new cases are close contacts of previous cases and one is a returned traveller who is in hotel quarantine.
A healthcare worker from Liverpool Hospital has been identified as one of the close contacts of a previous case and the other is a student from Our Lady of Mercy College in Parramatta.
Both were in self-isolation for their infectious period.
NSW Health are currently treating 84 coronavirus cases, with seven patients in intensive care and four on ventilators.