Monday, January 18, 2021
Health

Victoria records one new coronavirus case in hotel quarantine

Victoria records one new coronavirus case in hotel quarantine
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“What I absolutely want to be able to do sometime next week is say that people can come home, and they can come home soon. Not a few weeks later, but as soon as possible,” he said.

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“But that really does depend on what’s happening with the virus, with transmission and case numbers – not just in Sydney, but in NSW more broadly.”

Victoria closed the border at 11:59pm on Friday to anyone who had been in a Queensland ‘red zone’ – Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Redlands and Logan – on or after January 2.

Those who have returned from Queensland to Victoria since January 2 will now need to get tested and isolate until 6pm on Monday, and await further DHHS advice.

Victoria’s COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar said Victorians who are currently in green zone parts of Queensland should think about coming home, while those planning travel to the state should reconsider.

“At this point, there’s no closure on other parts of Queensland, but my advice would be to start making plans to come home, unless you intend to be up there for a significant period of time,” he told 3AW.

“I would not be planning a trip to Queensland at this time”

The Queensland Government instated a three-day lockdown of Greater Brisbane on Wednesday, following the discovery of COVID-postive hotel cleaner carrying the more-transmissible UK strain of the virus, with the woman visiting differnet parts of the city until testing positive on Wednesday.

Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott, a specialist in global health security at the University of Sydney, said the emergence of the mutant strains such as those from the UK and South Africa, reinforced the ongoing need for diligent infection control.

“We need the general population to still maintain a high level of vigilance: hand-washing, social distancing, masks,” he said.

“These are all measures we know are effective in preventing the spread of the virus. And unfortunately in Australia we have seen people start to relax these measures with the thought ‘we are now back to normal’ – and we are not.”

Travellers to Australia will be mandated to return a negative coronavirus test and will be forced to wear a mask on flights around Australia and in airports, following a meeting of national cabinet on Friday.

Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the changes would not be “silver bullets” in the country’s pandemic response.

“Each of them, though, incrementally increase the chances that we’ll be able to keep this virus out of Australia, or at least recognise when it’s arriving,” he said.

“Our plan [is] the same as it’s been from the beginning. It’s a suppression strategy with the aim of no community transmission. And doing anything we can to do that is important.”

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The Australian Open to be played in Melbourne next month, with hundreds of international tennis players and officials due to arrive from next week to begin 14 days of quarantine.

Associate Professor Kamradt-Scott said “mass gathering events would give any public health professional cause for concern in the middle of a pandemic” but said he believed the Open could be held safely so long as infection controls were maintained to a high standard.

With Liam Mannix and Kate Aubusson

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