After 29 days in hotel quarantine, this man still doesn’t know when he can leave

Sydney software designer Jake Miller has been holed up in a small hotel room for 29 days and he still doesn’t know when he will be allowed to leave.Key points:Mr Miller was given permission to attend his brother’s wedding in the US, when his brother was diagnosed with cancerHe tested positive to COVID after three days in hotel quarantineMr Miller now has to wait for genomic testing and a medical review before he can leave “That’s the mentally wearing part of it, you can’t even set expectations, you can’t make plans outside of it anymore,” he said. The 33-year-old was granted special permission to travel back to his native United States on compassionate grounds.His brother was diagnosed with cancer and asked him to officiate at his wedding.On return, he and his partner Helen Xue both tested positive for coronavirus three days into their hotel quarantine.At the end of 14 days, Ms Xue tested negative and was released. Jake Miller in the Sydney hotel room he has been in for 29 days so far.(Supplied: Jake Miller)Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from January 14 with our coronavirus blog.Mr Miller again tested positive and was told he would have to stay at the quarantine hotel. “At first I was very excited that Helen got out. I was thinking … I would be a couple of days behind and that’s not bad whatsoever,” he said.Read more about coronavirus:But then he learnt that the rules had changed due to concerns about a new variant of the virus spreading in the UK and other countries.That meant his sample would have to undergo genomic testing which meant another two weeks in quarantine.Once the results of the genomic testing are back, they will then have to be reviewed by a panel of medical experts who decide whether Mr Miller can finally be released.”More than likely that wouldn’t happen over the weekend — so I will be looking at some time in the last week of January to really be released from quarantine.”That would put me at the five or six week mark, which is crazy.”He says the system works well for people who have just arrived back but doesn’t take into account those who are coming to the end of their time in quarantine. “What doesn’t make sense is to punish the people who are doing the right thing,” he said.”Had I refused testing from day one which you are legally allowed to do, it just adds another ten days so I would have been out by now.”He said the hardest thing was not having a date on which he will be released.”That’s the mentally wearing part of it, you can’t even set expectations,” he said.”You can’t make plans outside of it any more like we have a wedding at the end of this month and I’m not sure if I can attend or not.” Mr Miller must wait for a medical review to clear his test results.(Supplied: Jake Miller)Sydney Local Health District said new national guidelines have been introduced due to concerns about highly transmissible new strains of COVID-19, a spokesperson said.Samples from those who test positive in quarantine will now be analysed to determine if they have a variant of concern.The patients must then be cleared by a NSW Health medical panel before they can be released.”This has meant some patients have remained in isolation slightly longer than they may have anticipated,” the spokesperson said.”However, this is necessary to ensure that the patient is no longer infectious and to protect the broader community.”What you need to know about coronavirus:

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