Victoria records three new coronavirus cases linked to Holiday Inn outbreak .

Covid-19 News

227 Views

        

A coronavirus outbreak linked to the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport has grown to 22 cases, after three new locally acquired COVID-19 infections were recorded in Victoria.

Victoria's Department of Health received 21,292 coronavirus test results yesterday.

All three new cases are linked to the Holiday Inn outbreak and have been in quarantine at home during their infectious period, the department said.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the new cases were from the same household and included an adult and a child who were residents on level three of the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport quarantine hotel.

The outbreak began when a returned traveller staying on level three used a nebuliser medical device, which authorities believe enabled the virus to more easily spread through the air and infect others.

Travellers who were identified as close contacts were required to quarantine for a further 14 days from the exposure date, regardless of when they arrived in the country or departed the hotel.

The third member of the household to test positive, an adult who did not stay at the Holiday Inn, was considered a secondary contact and was also quarantining.

After previously testing negative, the family did their day 11 test yesterday at a drive-through testing site near their home.

"They are all isolated away, we are very grateful to them and thousands more," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"While we have all gone back to something close to COVID-normal there are many thousands of people who are at home and have days to run on their 14 days."

A wide view of the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.
Two returned travellers who stayed at the Holiday Inn and one of their household members have tested positive to COVID-19.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

About 3,515 primary close contacts linked to the outbreak were in quarantine across the state on Friday morning, up from 3,400 two days earlier, COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said.

There were still 59 household primary close contacts, a number that has not changed in several days.

No overseas cases were recorded in hotel quarantine.

The new cases come after the state went two consecutive days without recording any local infections.

"This isn't over yet — all known contacts of cases or exposure sites need to stay in quarantine for the full 14 days to wrap this up," Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Twitter this morning.

While many restrictions have lifted following the state's five-day lockdown prompted by the Holiday Inn outbreak, Mr Andrews yesterday wrote to the Prime Minister to say international flights into the state would be paused indefinitely.

New South Wales is taking more than 3,000 returned travellers per week and other states and territories are receiving thousands more between them.

Mr Foley said discussions were underway between state and federal officials about the issue.

"We just want to make sure we have all the systems in place, all the understandings in place, and all the risks mitigated to make sure that whatever the next step in quarantine is safe," he said.

Hotel quarantine workers among first to get COVID-19 vaccine

A small number of people walk past cafes in a Melbourne laneway.
People are slowly returning to the city after the five-day lockdown.(ABC News: Barrie Pullen)

Victorian hotel quarantine and airport workers will be among the first people in the state to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when the rollout begins next week.

The Pfizer vaccine, which was the first COVID-19 vaccine to get regulatory approval in Australia, will be rolled out to priority groups across Australia from Monday.

The Commonwealth will allocate 12,000 initial doses of the vaccine to Victoria, with 59,000 doses to be provided over the first four weeks.

In Victoria, workers who are most likely to come into direct contact with people who could have coronavirus will be vaccinated first.

This will include health hotel workers, airport and port workers, high-risk frontline health staff, and public sector residential aged care staff and residents, the state government said.

Health professionals will start delivering doses of the Pfizer vaccine to those groups from Monday.

Grand Hyatt exposure in the 'rear view mirror'

People wait for a Melbourne tram on Bourke Street, all wearing masks.
Masks remain mandatory in many Victorian settings, including on public transport.(ABC News: Barrie Pullen)

The Holiday Inn outbreak came days after it was confirmed a worker at another quarantine hotel had contracted the virus.

The Noble Park man had worked at the Grand Hyatt hotel, which was used for Australian Open players and staff.

However, the 26-year-old was not confirmed to have transmitted the virus to anyone else.

Mr Weimar said close contacts from the Grand Hyatt outbreak had started being released from quarantine. A total of 1,507 were associated with outbreak and about 150 people were released on Thursday.

He thanked people for doing the "hard yards" and isolating, saying the Grand Hyatt outbreak is starting to appear in the "rear view mirror".