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Police widen search for virus-free detainee who fled quarantine hotel

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Police are widening their search for a 24-year-old woman from regional NSW who knocked out a glass sliding door and escaped from the Gold Coast’s Sofitel Broadbeach quarantine hotel late Tuesday.

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Gold Coast Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said police were entering their second day of searching for the city’s first quarantine escapee, who was described as “low risk”, and were upgrading hotel security measures to block any copycat bids for freedom.

“This 24-year-old woman was committed, to say the least, in getting out of her hotel accommodation and has obviously got away,” Wildman said.

“We’re actively searching for her.”

The woman was ordered to hotel quarantine at the Sofitel, Broadbeach on Monday and directed to isolate for 14 days. She was tested for Covid on Tuesday, before forcing out the glass door and fleeing Tuesday night. Her test came back negative on Wednesday.

“The risk is low, but we obviously need to get hold of her and return her back to hotel quarantine,” Wildman told ABC Gold Coast.

“We have to remember these are not watch houses, they are not prisons. These are actually quarantine hotels and over the last 18 months we’ve had thousands of people come through the hotel quarantine system.

“This is the first occasion we’ve had anyone commit an act such as this. It is a robust system, there is CCTV and other measures in place around the facility, but we will have a look to see where there are any gaps and close those gaps now that this has occurred.”

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