Victoria’s Department of Health has issued an urgent health alert after a Melbourne man tested positive after contracting the virus while in hotel quarantine in SA, and hundreds of Melbourne train commuters have been ordered to isolate.
The Wollert man, aged in his 30s, flew home and travelled across the city on two trains last Friday, unaware he had the virus, after showing symptoms on Saturday and testing positive on Tuesday.
There is concern that a declining number of Victorians have been using the QR code check-in system, and an alert has now been issued for anyone who caught the 5.28pm train Craigieburn to Southern Cross service on Friday, 7 May, or the 10.20pm Flinders Street to Craigieburn service. Commuters on these routes are urged to get tested and isolate immediately after receiving a negative test, regardless of which carriage they were in and which station they got off.
A number of exposure sites were released on Tuesday night. The two Metro Trains services have been declared as tier two sites, meaning that commuters must remain isolated until they receive a negative test result. Meanwhile, Flinders Street, Southern Cross and Craigieburn stations have all been declared Tier 3 exposure sites, which means people must monitor for symptoms.
Other exposure sites include Curry Vault Indian restaurant in Melbourne’s CBD which is a tier one site after the infected man dined there last Friday night. Diners at the restaurant between 6.30pm and 9.30pm are required to isolate for 14 days regardless of the test result they receive.
Officials have expressed concern that residents are no longer checking into venues using the QR code check-in system.
Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said, “Based on information provided, we think there are likely to be more people in that restaurant than are on the QR code system at the moment. But we don’t know who they are. That’s why it’s so important that we all maintain the basic behaviours,” she said.
“Wear a mask in public transport and in taxis and when you can’t isolate, use the QR system wherever you go.”
The man had arrived in Australia from India via the Maldives and Singapore.
NSW and Queensland are on high alert for arrivals from Victoria and an online declaration form will be mandatory for Victorians whishing to travel to these states. This rule has been applicable from 6am Wednesday in NSW and from 1am Thursday, 13 May, for Queensland.
In South Australia, the infected man was staying in a room adjacent to a positive case in the Playford medi-hotel. It is believed that he contracted the virus in the final days of his hotel quarantine following his last test.
South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said he was not believed to be infectious when he caught the flight back to Melbourne.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says it was “absolutely the case” that the man contracted the virus while serving his hotel quarantine in South Australia but said there were positives that his close contacts had produced negative tests. He also said that flight details had not been released as, at this stage, it is not believed the man was infectious while on the flight. Health authorities on Wednesday, however, said anyone on board Jetstar flight JQ771 from Adelaide to Melbourne on 4 May should isolate and get tested for coronavirus regardless of symptoms.
“The early encouraging sign is the household close contacts are all negative given he would’ve been infectious likely since the 6th [May].”
High exposure sites
- TIC Group – Front office – 214 Blackshaws Road, Altona North – 12:01am to 11:59pm – Thursday, 6 May
- Curry Vault Indian Restaurant and Bar – 18-20 Bank Pl, Melbourne – 6:30pm and 9:30pm on Friday, 7 May
- Indian Gate Spices and Groceries – Unit 14 C/560-590 High Street – 5pm and 6pm on Saturday, 8 May
- Woolworths Epping – Cooper Street and High Street – 5:40pm and 6:38pm on Saturday, 8 May
- TIC Group – Rear warehouse section -214 Blackshaws Road, Altona North – All day, Thursday, 6 May
- 7/11 Epping – 705 High Street – 6:30pm and 7:30pm on Thursday, 6 May
- 7/11 Epping – 705 High Street – 11:10am and 11:40am on Saturday, 8 May
Anyone who visited the above exposure sites during the reported times must also immediately contact the state’s coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.