Melbourne school alert a false alarm

By | April 24, 2021

Staff and students at a Melbourne primary school who were told to self-isolate after a potential COVID-19 case visited the school have been told it was a false alarm.

The Caulfield South Primary School community received a text on Friday night ordering them into isolation, after a close contact visited the school on Thursday and Friday.

The Victorian Department of Health confirmed on Saturday the families no longer needed to isolate, after a suspected close contact of a positive case returned a negative result.

It comes after an infectious man who travelled to Melbourne from Perth sparked fresh community transmission fears.

The man, 54, from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, flew to the city on Wednesday and returned a positive test result on Friday, after becoming the third person to contract the virus at Perth’s Mercure Hotel.

The man’s room was alongside a family of three from the United Kingdom, two of who also became sick with the virus, after they caught it from a couple who travelled from India staying in an adjacent room.

The Victorian man returned a negative result on day 12 in hotel quarantine and was released on April 17 before leaving for Melbourne on April 21.

His household contacts – a spouse and two children – have all returned negative test results.

The infectious man spent five days in Perth, including the suburbs of Kardinya, Northbridge and Leeming. He also visited Kings Park.

The passengers on his QANTAS flight QF778, as well as hundreds of people who were at Melbourne Airport at the time, have been asked to get tested and quarantine for 14 days.

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The man, who was asymptomatic, was notified of his close contact status as he touched down in Melbourne, and has been in isolation since then.

The state now has 23 active cases, with authorities contacting the 265 people connected to the Qantas flight, with 49 of those already returning negative tests.

More than 5000 Victorians who visited Perth from April 17 have also been asked to get tested and isolate.

Victoria’s COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said Victoria had dealt with numerous COVID scares and outbreaks and knew the drill.

“We do have a positive case that we need to run into the ground but we’re now in the incredibly fortunate position of having no community transmission in Victoria, that we’re aware of,” Mr Weimar said.

“I’m extremely confident we have a testing, pathology and contact tracing system that is standing up yet again to these kinds of challenges.”

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said on Friday it was too early for the government to say if the virus had spread further into the community.

“Victorians have been down this path. We know the drill. We will do the right thing to keep this to one case, at the moment,” Mr Foley said.

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