Hundreds of Melbourne train commuters have been ordered to isolate after being potentially exposed to coronavirus by an infected returned traveller.
The Department of Health has issued an urgent health alert after a Melbourne man tested positive after contracting the virus while in hotel quarantine in South Australia.
He flew home to Melbourne and travelled across the city on two trains last Friday night not knowing he had the virus.
Health officials have also expressed concern about the decline in Victorians using the QR code check-in system, which has created a headache for contract tracers.
Anyone who caught the 5.28pm Craigieburn to Southern Cross service on Friday May 7, or the 10.20pm Flinders Street to Craigieburn service on the same night, must get tested and isolate immediately until they receive a negative test.
‘This advice applies for people in any carriage, who got on and got off at any station,’ the alert states.
‘If you travelled around this time but are unsure about which service you caught, please get tested.’
‘If you were at the stations around these times but didn’t get on the train, monitor for symptoms.’
The infected man travelled from Flinders Street station (pictured) to Craigieburn on May 7
The two Metro Trains services have been declared as tier two sites, which means commuters must remain in isolated until they return a negative test.
Flinders Street, Southern Cross and Craigieburn stations have all been declared Tier 3 exposure sites, which means anyone who was at any of these stations on May 7 must monitor for symptoms.
The stations were among a list of potential exposure sites released on Tuesday night.
The list included Curry Vault Indian restaurant in Melbourne’s CBD, where the infected case dined last Friday night.
The restaurant has been declared as a tier one site, which means diners who were there between 6:30pm and 9:30pm must isolate for 14 days, regardless of the test result.
Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar has expressed concern about the drop in residents checking into venues via the QR code check-in system.
Some of the diners at Curry Vault Indian restaurant did not check-in.
‘Based on information provided, we think there are likely to be more people in that restaurant than are on the QR code system at the moment. But we don’t know who they are,’ Mr Weimar said.
‘That’s why it’s so important that we all maintain the basic behaviours.
‘Wear a mask in public transport and in taxis and when you can’t isolate, use the QR system wherever you go.’
The man, aged in his 30s, arrived home in Wollert in Melbourne’s north on Tuesday May 4 before developing symptoms over the weekend.
He was tested on Monday after his condition worsened and tested positive on Tuesday.
The man had arrived in Australia from India, travelling through the Maldives and Singapore before arriving in South Australia.
The latest case has put New South Wales and Queensland on high alert.
An online declaration form will be mandatory to apply for Victorian visitors heading into those states, which applies from 6am on Wednesday, May 12 in NSW and 1am Thursday, May 13 in the Sunshine State.
‘People arriving in New South Wales from the Greater Melbourne area must complete a declaration (form) which confirms they have not attended a venue of concern,’ NSW Health said.
Some of the identified venues in Greater Melbourne include the likes of Bayside City, Frankston City, Knox City and Mornington Peninsula Shire.
A similar announcement emerged from the Queensland Premier on Tuesday night.
‘From 1am Thursday 13 May, anyone arriving into Queensland who has been to any of the locations in Greater Melbourne must go into hotel quarantine for 14 days,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘Anyone in Queensland prior to 1am Thursday who has been to any of the locations is also asked to quarantine at their home or arranged accommodation and also get a Covid-19 test.’
The message from NSW Health (pictured) confirming people arriving in the state from the Greater Melbourne Area from 6am onwards from May 12 must complete a declaration form stating they have not attended a venue of concern
The full list of Greater Melbourne Council areas:
Banyule City, Bayside City, Boroondara City, Brimbank City, Cardinia Shire, Casey City, Darebin City, Frankston City, Glen Eira City, Greater Dandenong City, Greater Geelong City, Hobsons Bay City, Hume City, Kingston City, Knox City, Macedon Ranges Shire, Manningham City, Maribyrnong City, Maroondah City, Melbourne City, Melton City, Mitchell Shire, Monash City, Moonee Valley City, Moorabool Shire, Moreland City, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Murrindindi Shire, Nillumbik Shire, Port Phillip City, Stonnington City, Whitehorse City, Whittlesea City, Wyndham City, Yarra City, and Yarra Ranges Shire.
Source: NSW Health
The infected Melbourne man was staying in a room adjacent to a positive case in the Playford medi-hotel and is believed to have contracted the virus in the final days of his quarantine following his last test.
South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said the man was not believed to be infectious when he caught the flight back to Melbourne.
The man tested negative to his mandatory tests while in hotel quarantine and authorities believe he only became infectious after landing in Victoria.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed the man’s re-test again came back positive on Tuesday afternoon but said his three household close contacts have returned negative tests.
A man has tested positive for coronavirus at his Melbourne home after serving his mandatory two weeks hotel quarantine in South Australia
Testing will continue across NSW after a man in Melbourne returned a positive reading for Covid in Victoria in Tuesday (pictured testing at Bondi Beach in Sydney’s east)
He also confirmed there are three tier one areas of exposure, which mean anyone at the venues must immediately self-isolate, get tested and quarantine for 14 days.
There were also three tier two exposed venues, where anyone present must immediately get tested and isolate until they return a negative result.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says it was ‘absolutely the case’ that the man contracted the virus while serving his hotel quarantine in South Australia but said there were positives that his close contacts had produced negative tests.
‘The early encouraging sign is the household close contacts are all negative given he would’ve been infectious likely since the 6th [of May].’
He says they have not yet released his flight number or the airport as areas of exposure because at this stage they don’t believe the man was infectious while on the flight.
High exposure sites in Melbourne
TIC Group – Front office – 214 Blackshaws Road, Altona North – 12:01am to 11:59pm – Thursday, May 6
Curry Vault Indian Restaurant and Bar – 18-20 Bank Pl, Melbourne – 6:30pm and 9:30pm on Friday, May 7
Indian Gate Spices and Groceries – Unit 14 C/560-590 High Street – 5pm and 6pm on Saturday, May 8
Woolworths Epping – Cooper Street and High Street – 5:40pm and 6:38pm on Saturday, May 8
TIC Group – Rear warehouse section -214 Blackshaws Road, Altona North – All day, Thursday May 6
7/11 Epping – 705 High Street – 6:30pm and 7:30pm on Thursday, May 6
7/11 Epping – 705 High Street – 11:10am and 11:40am on Saturday, May 8
Anyone that has been at the exposure sites during the reported times must also immediately contact the state’s coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
More than two dozen workers at a Melbourne CBD health company were sent home as a ‘precaution’ after a potential coronavirus scare on Tuesday morning.
The workers at Citadel Health were sent home from their office on the city’s busy Collins Street after one of the employees was notified as being a close contact of the Wollert man.
A spokesman for Citadel Health confirmed staff had been sent home to Daily Mail Australia but that their employee who was a close contact to the infected man had returned a negative result.
Victoria Health are now conducting a ‘full public health response’ into close contacts and possible hotspots.
Face masks remain mandatory on public transport in NSW (pictured commuters at Wynyard Station in Sydney’s CBD)
‘Further testing has been urgently arranged to confirm the diagnosis,’ the Victorian Department of Health said on Tuesday.
‘Until that time, the Department is treating this as a positive case and acting accordingly.’
The man and his household of three close contacts will remain in isolation for a further two weeks as is the incubation period with the virus.
‘Until then, the department is treating this as a positive case and acting accordingly,’ the department said.
‘The individual is being interviewed and exposure sites are being verified.’
The man and his close contacts are all currently isolating while they await further testing