Following the announcement a Victorian man tested positive for COVID-19 after completing 14 days of quarantine at a Western Australian hotel at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak, passengers onboard a Qantas flight are now being told to isolate for two weeks.
Victoria’s streak of no locally acquired COVID-19 cases came to an end on Friday morning, with one new local case confirmed.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed at a press conference that a Victorian man contracted the virus in a Perth quarantine hotel before travelling to Melbourne on Wednesday.
He was notified by authorities immediately after landing in Melbourne on Qantas flight QF778 that he was a close contact of a positive case in an adjacent room.
The man, from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, was subsequently tested and his positive result came back at 2am on Friday, breaking Victoria’s 56-day streak without any local cases.
Health authorities are now working on contacting everyone on the flight, with all passengers being told to get tested and quarantine.
“Obviously, there are going to be a number of primary close contacts on that flight and that flight was Qantas QF778,” Mr Foley said.
“All of those people are being contacted by our contact tracing team and will need to isolate for the full 14 days.
“Out of caution, before that positive result was returned, the individual requested to be moved to hotel quarantine in Melbourne,” Mr Foley said of the man who had been staying at the Mercure Hotel in Perth.
“We will be examining the gentleman’s movements, particularly through the airport, where he did wear a mask, as he did on the flight.”
The hotel where the man had been staying has had other guests already contract the virus from overseas returned travellers.
The outbreak at Perth’s Mercure Hotel happened after a couple arrived from India on April 10 and the man tested positive on April 13, followed by his wife two days later.
A pregnant mother and her four-year-old daughter, who arrived on April 3 from the United Kingdom along with the girl’s father who previously had the virus, were quarantining in an opposite room when they were diagnosed with the virus on April 16.
Authorities are investigating how it happened, but WA Premier Mark McGowan has conceded the Mercure is “not one of the best” hotels for quarantining and would no longer be used.
The potential exposure period for the floor was from April 10.
There were 18 other guests on the same floor who had left after returning a negative result, with two of them – who were adjacent to the ill people – ordered to quarantine for a further two weeks.
The other 16 people were directed to immediately self-quarantine and be retested.