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Nurse’s illegal roadtrip to see a SUNSET may be linked to Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim

A coronavirus-infected nurse who enjoyed an illegal 400km roadtrip to ‘watch the sunset’ may be linked to Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim.

Nathan Turner, 30, was found dead at home in Blackwater, Queensland, by his devastated fiancee on Tuesday afternoon.

But mystery surrounds how he became infected with the deadly respiratory infection, as he hadn’t left the town since February and it has no other cases.

Mr Turner had numerous health problems and had been off work since November, and while a post mortem will determine the cause of his death, he has been added to Queensland’s COVID-19 death toll. 

Hundreds of people in the town will now being tested for the virus, after details emerged of an infected nurse’s secret road trip.

The nurse is already embroiled in scandal after going to work at the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre aged care home, despite having symptoms of the disease.  

Nathan Turner (pictured) was described as the ‘life and soul of the party’ by his devastated mates after he became the youngest person in Australia to die with coronavirus

Nathan Turner (pictured, left) with his partner Simone Devon (right) who discovered his body on Tuesday after she returned from work

Nathan Turner (pictured, left) with his partner Simone Devon (right) who discovered his body on Tuesday after she returned from work

Now sources claim she admitted going on a illegal road trip on May 10, driving 167km from Rockhampton to Blackwater, The Australian reported. 

She told health officials she had visited the mining town briefly to admire the views, but claimed to have not left her car. 

‘She said she had driven to Blackwater to watch the sunrise and hadn’t gotten out of her car or had any contact with anyone,’ the source said. 

‘It’s a strange place to go to watch the sunrise.’

She allegedly told authorities of her bizarre road trip shortly after her initial diagnosis, prompting questions as to why no one in the town was informed.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga called for the nurse, who under investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission, to be fined for breaking lockdown rules, The Courier Mail reported.

Nathan Turner (pictured) is the youngest person in Australia to die with COVID-19, taking the national death toll to 103

Nathan Turner (pictured) is the youngest person in Australia to die with COVID-19, taking the national death toll to 103

At this time, travel across such large distances was only allowed for essential reasons, which would not include admiring a sunset.  

‘It’s irresponsible. It’s against the law,’ Ms Lauga said.

‘It doesn’t make sense to anyone I’ve spoken to who lives in this region why you wouldn’t get out of the car, go to the loo or anything and we rely on people being honest with their contact tracing.’

It comes as Mr Turner’s devastated friends paid tribute to their mate, who had recently proposed to his girlfriend. 

‘He was a larrikin and always the life of the party,’ one friend said.

A nurse is alleged to have gone to work at the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre (pictured on May 16) despite having symptoms of COVID-19

A nurse is alleged to have gone to work at the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre (pictured on May 16) despite having symptoms of COVID-19

Nathan Turner (pictured) was found dead at his home by his partner on Tuesday afternoon

Nathan Turner (pictured) was found dead at his home by his partner on Tuesday afternoon

A coal miner, Mr Turner had been off work since November after suffering from seizures and complex medical problems.

Tests were conducted after his death, as despite showing symptoms for three weeks, he had not been tested.

His shock diagnosis forced the closure of the town’s police station, after three officers were forced into home isolation, as were paramedics who rushed to the scene. 

Fiancee Simone Devon, who discovered his body in their home when she returned from work at a local bakery, has since tested negative. 

The bakery has been closed ‘indefinitely’, and Ms Devon is isolating at home before being tested again. 

But reports on Wednesday night claimed there was uncertainty about Mr Turner’s condition, despite Queensland Health officials saying he died of COVID-19.

The victim has not worked since November and has not left the central Queensland town of since February. Blackwater (pictured) has a population of about 4,500 people

The victim has not worked since November and has not left the central Queensland town of since February. Blackwater (pictured) has a population of about 4,500 people 

His death brought Australia’s coronavirus death toll to 103.

It is understood that a test conducted on Tuesday night tested positive for the virus, but a second test came back negative, with sources saying it was contaminated and therefore invalid.  

A statement from Queensland Health said it had no evidence to confirm the two cases were related, but it is investigating all relevant information.

‘Contact-tracing information provided to Queensland Health for the central Queensland case identified on May 14 was that the individual travelled to Blackwater in the second week of May but did not interact with other individuals there,’ it said.

‘Information provided to Queensland Health about the case identified today indicated the man had respiratory symptoms since the first week of May.

Nathan Turner (pictured) worked as a miner, but had been off work since November, officials said

Nathan Turner (pictured) hadn't left his hometown of Blackwater since February, but still contracted COVID-19 and died on Tuesday

Nathan Turner (pictured) worked as a miner, but had been off work since November, officials said

‘At this time, no evidence has been provided to Queensland Health that links the two cases. But we will continue to assess all information relevant to any case.’

Earlier this month, the unnamed nurse continued working at the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre despite having coronavirus symptoms.

The nurse is reported to have been contagious since May 3, and continued working with the elderly residents despite showing symptoms from May 5.

She later tested positive, sparking a frantic testing blitz of the centre’s 200 vulnerable residents – all of whom tested negative.

The nurse has been suspended and has been referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission over an alleged breach of public health directions.

A nurse is seen testing a woman for COVID-19 at a testing centre in Sydney on May 12 (pictured) with similar tests being performed at the Queensland aged care centre

A nurse is seen testing a woman for COVID-19 at a testing centre in Sydney on May 12 (pictured) with similar tests being performed at the Queensland aged care centre

Mining trucks are seen in Blackwater (pictured) where Mr Turner worked, but had not been at work since November

Mining trucks are seen in Blackwater (pictured) where Mr Turner worked, but had not been at work since November 

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it proves why anyone with symptoms should stay home, particularly if they have contact with vulnerable people.

‘It is very, very difficult to understand,’ she said.

‘The most important thing we can all do to protect each other is to stay at home if we’re sick.’

During a press conference held on Wednesday morning, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it appeared the man had been ill for several weeks.

‘He has a complicated medical history and that also needs to be worked through,’ she said. 

‘Age is not a total predictor of people who are going to do badly.

Nathan Turner (pictured) became the youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Australia, aged just 30

Nathan Turner (pictured) became the youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Australia, aged just 30

‘The other thing is we don’t know the impact of the other medical issues he had. That will be something for the coroner to look at.

‘Whether or not COVID-19 was the precipitating cause for his death, that’s how we report it.’

Clinics have now been set up in Blackwater and Emerald so anyone with symptoms can be tested. 

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles urged ‘anyone in Queensland’ to get a coronavirus test.

‘This message is particularly important for all the blokes out there,’ he said.

‘I know that men sometimes fob off their illnesses, they don’t go and get medical assistance, but it’s incredibly important right now that anyone with symptoms goes and gets tested.’

Residents in Blackwater (pictured) will now be tested for COVID-19, after an infected nurse admitted travelling to the town

Residents in Blackwater (pictured) will now be tested for COVID-19, after an infected nurse admitted travelling to the town

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