Victorian family tests positive to Covid a day after state emerges from lockdown | Australia news

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Three members of a Victorian family, two of whom quarantined at the Melbourne airport Holiday Inn, have tested positive to coronavirus a day after the state’s five-day lockdown was lifted.

Health authorities were confident the new cases, which came after two days of zero cases in Victoria, will not spark further infections as they were isolating at home during their infectious period.

The health minister, Martin Foley, said the cases involved two parents and a child, two of whom were classified as primary close contacts because they had been in quarantine on the third floor of the quarantine hotel at Tullamarine. The other family member was deemed a secondary contact.

Foley said the trio had multiple negative tests between 10 February and 12 February after returning from overseas in early Februrary.

A cluster linked to the Holiday Inn now stands at 22 cases.

The state’s Covid-19 testing commander, Jeroen Weimar, said more than 3,500 close contacts linked to the Holiday Inn continue to self-isolate, including 88 returned travellers who stayed at the hotel.

“[The new cases] continue to build this picture of this super-spreader event on the third floor at the Holiday Inn,” he said.

“We know that this particular family was also accommodated in one room on the third floor and it adds to that sort of that wider impact.”

The new Victorian cases come just days before the start of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in Australia.

Foley said the Pfizer vaccine would be first given to hotel quarantine and health hotel workers, airport and port workers, high-risk frontline health staff and public sector residential aged care staff and residents.

The vaccine will be administered at hubs run by three Melbourne health services: the Monash, Austin and Western hospitals.

“Whether they work in hotel quarantine, at the airport, or a specialist Covid ward – we need to keep Victorians most at risk of infection safe, while they continue to keep Victorians safe,” he said.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, who visited the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney with the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, on Friday, said it was possible that international borders would reopen once the vaccination program expanded.

“I think it is a reasonable expectation that as time goes on, as the vaccination rolls out across the world and here in Australia, you should rightly expect that things will change and how we manage the virus,” Morrison said.

“Why? Because the risk of someone getting seriously ill is addressed.”

Berejiklian said it was possible that people who weren’t vaccinated could be excluded from certain jobs or businesses, but she did not think it was necessary to make the jab mandatory for quarantine workers.

“I have overwhelming confidence that sufficient numbers of people who work in our quarantine system or have the potential to work in the quarantine system will be vaccinated,” she said on Friday.

Morrison and Berejiklian were both expecting to be vaccinated within days, as part of a public campaign to encourage confidence in the program.

More information regarding the national vaccination program was announced on Thursday.

Additional reporting by Australian Associated Press

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Victorian family tests positive to Covid a day after state emerges from lockdown | Australia news

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