Massive fire engulfed the top floor of the Pacific Hotel in the city of Cairns in northeastern Australia, forcing the evacuation of over 160 hotel guests.
Police arrested a 31-year-old woman, who reportedly lit a fire underneath her bed, setting fire to a hotel where she and her two children were ordered to quarantine for fourteen days.
The woman was charged with arson by Queensland authorities.
There were no injuries, but the damage to the building was ‘significant’ and forced authorities to relocate people to other COVID-19 quarantine facilities.
Authorities said a woman lit a fire after spending only a “couple of days” of the mandatory two-week quarantine inside the hotel after crossing into Queensland from another state.
Before the incident, she also reportedly had caused other unspecified troubles for the staff during her stay.
Her two children were taken under police protection, while the woman was charged with arson and willful damage, and is due to appear in court today.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has recorded just around 2,000 deaths as it resorted to some of the world’s most draconian lockdown and quarantine measures, affecting not only international but also interstate travel, in a bid to keep infections as low as possible until a majority of the population is vaccinated.
Just as the country was finally preparing to reopen its borders to skilled migrants and students on December 1, the first cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant were detected in travelers from southern Africa, potentially derailing the plan.