Australian woman 'lit fire under bed' at COVID quarantine hotel
- Police charged a woman with arson after fire destroyed part of a COVID-19 quarantine hotel in Cairns City, Queensland
- The 31-year-old allegedly lit a fire under a bed in the room she had been sharing with two children
- More than 160 people were evacuated as fire engulfed the 11-storey Pacific Hotel
Police in Australia have charged a woman with arson after fire at a COVID-19 quarantine hotel in Cairns City, Queensland, prompted the evacuation of dozens of guests. The 31-year-old is accused of lighting a fire under a bed in the room she had been sharing with two children on Sunday morning. The blaze was extinguished after it caused significant damage to the building, Queensland Police said in a statement. "All other occupants of the hotel were safely evacuated and have since been relocated. No one was injured," the statement said.
The Manoora resident is due to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on November 29 after she was charged with one count each of arson and wilfull damage.
More than 160 people were evacuated as fire engulfed the 11-storey Pacific Hotel, ABC Australia reported.
The incident came as Australia confirmed two cases of Omicron, a new coronavirus variant which has prompted renewed restrictions across Australia and several other countries across the world. Both the asymptomatic patients, who are fully vaccinated, arrived in Sydney from southern Africa on November 27. Arrivals from nine African countries are now required to quarantine in a hotel upon arrival.
Omicron was first detected in South Africa this month, and has been classified as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization's (WHO) Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE). The variant, which was initially identified as B.1.1.529, has been found to have a large number of mutations, "some of which are concerning," according to the WHO.
While Australia has recently began to ease COVID-19 restrictions, unvaccinated travellers are still required to quarantine for 14 days in hotels in the country.