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National cabinet is expected to move today to require all travellers from the UK to Australia to undertake pre-flight and post-flight testing for Covid-19 in a bid to detect the new highly infectious strain of the virus before it enters Australia. National cabinet is also expected to require pre-flight testing for travellers from all countries planning on heading to Australia, and to make face masks mandatory on all international and domestic flights. They are currently mandatory on a lot of flights, but it’s at the discretion of airlines.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee provided updated advice on the UK variant to national cabinet yesterday.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews told reporters yesterday that he would also push for the daily, or very frequent, Covid-19 testing of everyone who works in the hotel quarantine system through out Australia. Victoria now tests everyone who works in its hotel quarantine system daily; it was one of the reforms recommended in a lengthy review of the system after a quarantine breach last year led to Melbourne’s second wave.
Andrews said daily testing meant that “not if but when the virus does end up getting in the hotel quarantine system, this virus will have a one-day jump on us”.
The UK variant has already been in the community — a woman who works as a cleaner in Queensland’s hotel quarantine system tested positive to the strain, prompting Queensland health authorities to yesterday lock down aged care homes in large parts of Brisbane and list a series of exposure sites in the city’s southeast. You can find that list here.
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young said that starting Monday, every person who works in the hotel quarantine system will be tested at the start of every shift, not just every seven days as is currently the protocol in Queensland. So Queensland is likely to support Victoria’s motion in national cabinet.
In NSW, health authorities are trying to find the source of a new infection in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The man was a close contact of a known case and tested positive to the virus after he developed symptoms after completing his 14-day isolation period. NSW chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said it is possible he caught the infection elsewhere, although he has remained in lockdown.
It does highlight that with that level of community transmission in that northern zone … that is the risk we want to make sure we tackle, very promptly.
Western Australian authorities have confirmed that a woman in her 80s who is at the centre of an issue around personal protective breaches in that state’s hotel quarantine system has also tested positive to the highly contagious UK strain. She arrived in Perth from the UK on Tuesday, went to hotel quarantine, and has since gone to hospital. A paramedic, a nurse, and a third person who came into contact with the woman have also been put into hotel quarantine after they failed to use correct PPE when interacting with the woman. Premier Mark McGowan has said there is no risk to the public from the “flabbergasting” breach.
And in non-coronavirus news, residents forced to evacuate their home to flee a bushfire burning out of control north of Perth may not be able to return home for several days, with severe conditions and temperatures of more than 40C expected today. An emergency warning remains in place .
I’ll bring you the new NSW and Victorian exposure sites shortly, but for now, let’s crack on. If I miss something you can contact me on twitter @callapilla or email me at email@example.com
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Australia coronavirus news live: Queensland on alert over UK variant Covid case; national cabinet to meet | Australia news