Quarantine worker at Melbourne hotel tests positive for COVID-19

Natasha Chaku
·2-min read

Melbourne, Feb 4 (PTI) After enjoying 28 straight days of no locally-acquired COVID-19 case, Melbourne has again gone back to harsher restrictions following a quarantine worker of Grand Hyatt, one of the hotels used by Australian Open, testing positive for the viral disease.

The 26-year-old man, who was serving as a resident support officer as part of the Australian Open quarantine programme, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

At a late night press briefing, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the worker had attended a social function in his capacity as a volunteer firefighter.

He said authorities were 'assuming the worst' and acting as though the man had the highly infectious UK strain of the virus.

Genomic sequencing to identify the strain will be completed in the coming days.

'We have to assume that this person has in fact infected others,' Andrews said.

'We are confident that people will get the information they need as quickly as possible,' he added.

Victoria's COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said contact-tracing work was on throughout Wednesday night.

The Grand Hyatt is one of the three hotels used by the Australian Open to quarantine more than 1,000 players and support staff ahead of the tournament.

Andrews said there would be an impact on some of the Grand Slam's players and staff.

'There is a number of about 500, 600 people who are players and officials and others who are casual contacts,' he said, adding, 'They will be isolating until they get a negative test.' Tennis Australia has cancelled all matches at the Melbourne Park on Thursday in the Australian Open lead-up events while players are tested.

Andrews said tennis was not the most important issue.

'I must say that is important to us but the issues are much broader and that is about public health and public safety,' he said.

The announcement affects the ATP Cup, two other men's events and three WTA tournaments with more than 600 players and officials now considered casual contacts.

'Health authorities have advised us that a hotel quarantine worker has tested positive for COVID-19,' a Tennis Australia statement read.

'Those associated with the Australian Open who quarantined at the hotel now need to be tested and isolated until they receive a negative test result,' it said.

Almost 1,200 players, coaching staff and officials arrived in Australia since last month for the competition and took the mandatory 14-day isolation.

As of Thursday, Victoria has reintroduced mandatory mask rules, reduced the cap on visitors in homes and paused an increase on the number of people allowed in offices. PTI NC RC