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Australia Melbourne quarantine worker confirmed to have UK virus strain

04:41  05 february  2021
04:41  05 february  2021 Source:   9news.com.au

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Victoria's hotel quarantine worker who tested positive to COVID-19 has the mutant UK strain of the virus, Victoria's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton has confirmed.

Daniel Andrews wearing a suit and tie: Premier Daniel Andrews gives a COVID-19 update for Victoria after no new cases were detected. © Nine Premier Daniel Andrews gives a COVID-19 update for Victoria after no new cases were detected.

But how the 26-year-old resident support officer from Noble Park contracted the virus is yet to be determined, with stringent "detective work" still underway.

There has been no apparent breach in infection prevention and controls or PPE, with airborne transmission the working theory at this stage.

Professor Sutton said health authorities were "confident" the man's case had not been contracted in the community.

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"We're confident at the moment it's not been picked up in the community - but from one of the residents in the hotel," he said.

"It is a more transmissible variant of concern.

"We've always worked on the assumption that it was going to be this variant. That's because four of the six residents who'd tested positive at the hotel had that variant identified in them.

"Where exactly it's come from is still to be determined."

Officials are combing through CCTV footage and conducting interviews to determine how the infection leaked through the quarantine system.

https://twitter.com/VicGovDH/status/1357445245550624772

In positive news, Victoria recorded no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 today, with three in hotel quarantine.

Infected hotel quarantine guard 'should have had access to PPE'

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Premier Daniel Andrews said 16 out of the quarantine worker's 17 close contacts had all returned negative test results.

The last remaining test result is still in the laboratory, but the premier said the results were "very good signs".

"Those he has spent the most time with during his most infectious period have all, to this point, come back negative," Mr Andrews said.

a sign on the side of a building: Hotel worker who tested positive to COVID-19 has been confirmed to have the UK strain © Nine Hotel worker who tested positive to COVID-19 has been confirmed to have the UK strain

"It doesn't mean that they might not test positive at a later point and that's why them completing the isolation and doing as we've asked them to do is so important.

"But these are good signs ... that we caught this in good time. We've spared no effort to run this to ground.

"Whilst there's still days that will be relevant to us, tomorrow is not over yet, these are in some respects the very best outcomes we could have hoped for."

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Testing numbers soar

More than 14,600 people were tested for COVID-19 overnight, however a further 8000 tests have been processed since midnight.

The additional tests mean about 22,500 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, while 6000 tests are yet to be processed.

All test results have so far come back negative.

a group of people in a parking lot: Queues are forming at COVID-19 testing sites across Melbourne as the city works to understand the reach of its most recent case of community transmission. Queues are forming at COVID-19 testing sites across Melbourne as the city works to understand the reach of its most recent case of community transmission.

"It was a very big testing 24 hours," Mr Andrews said.


Video: No new local cases of COVID-19 reported overnight (ABC NEWS)

"I'm very pleased to say that they've all been negative. That is exactly the outcome that we were after. Big community response and no new positive cases."

Hundreds of people have lined up at testing sites around the city early this morning, as officials continue to urge Victorians to get tested.

Yesterday demand was so high some people were waiting up to four-and-a-half hours to get tested, with some sites being forced to close early after reaching capacity.

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Five additional testing sites were set up yesterday and another site at the Dendy Public Golf Course in Brighton is due to open today to meet demand.

A total of 14 exposure sites where the infected man attended have been listed on the Department of Health website.

Anyone who visited the sites during the specified dates and times must get tested and isolate for 14 days.

Nearly 300 people have also been identified from the exposure sites and remain in self-isolation.

Victoria's testing commander Jeroen Weimar said 743 workplace contacts of the infected man would also be tested to ensure the virus has not spread throughout the quarantine system.

"It is very important that we get hold of those workplace contacts and ensure that we really establish whether there's any other leakage from that hotel quarantine period into that workforce," he said.

The workforce were already being tested daily as part of the quarantine program, Mr Weimar said.

Australian Open cohort so far test negative

Meanwhile, the Australian Open contingent who were undertaking quarantine at the Grant Hyatt hotel have so far all tested negative to coronavirus.

Mr Weimar said the state's "third ring" of outbreak management was the more than 500 players and staff who were undertaking quarantine at the Grand Hyatt.

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"They've all tested negative. Results will come through over the course of the night and during today," he said.

a group of people standing in front of a building: People associated with the Australian Open are seen lining up at a testing facility at the View Melbourne Hotel on February 4. © Getty People associated with the Australian Open are seen lining up at a testing facility at the View Melbourne Hotel on February 4.

"As those negative results come through they will be released on the basis they've been very tightly contained within the hotel quarantine system."

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley told 3AW officials this morning they were waiting on the results of just 12 more tests.

"So far everyone is negative," Mr Tiley said.

The Australian Open is due to proceed as planned on Monday, as Mr Tiley yesterday insisted the tournament would go ahead.

Matches will resume at Melbourne Park today after yesterday's practice games were scrapped.

Hotel worker worked with people who attended 'staff party'

The 26-year-old infected man had worked with people who attended a staff party put on by COVID Quarantine Victoria (CQV), sparking concern of possible tranmission.

Around 60 team leaders, site and general managers gathered to celebrate the end of the Australian Open quarantine at the View Hotel on St Kilda Road on Sunday.

It was organised by CQV as a thank you to staff for their work.

The Grand Hyatt hotel seen from Melbourne Park. © AP The Grand Hyatt hotel seen from Melbourne Park.

The 26-year-old who most likely became infected at the Grand Hyatt did not attend the outdoor function – but people he worked with did.

While no rules have been broken, it is cause for concern as the state scrambles to prevent community transmission.

The 26-year-old man is also a Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteer and attended at least one CFA function while possibly infected.

The premier said brigades had been contacted and deep-cleaning undertaken.

Coronavirus infections in hotel quarantine workers makes it 'wrong time' to increase international arrivals, epidemiologist warns .
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