Miracle as ALL close contacts of a quarantine worker infected with mutant UK Covid strain test negative as Victoria records zero new cases just days ahead of the Australian Open
The state recorded zero cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, either locally acquired or in hotel quarantine. The tally came from more than 23,000 tests.
Authorities had earlier warned there could still be COVID-19 cases lurking from a Victorian hotel quarantine worker infected with the mutant UK variant of the infection.
Genomic sequencing has confirmed the 26-year-old Melbourne man contracted the highly-infectious B117 strain, first identified in the UK.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Friday he was “a little bit surprised” none among the cohort had been infected, but flagged it was still early in the potential incubation period.
“It is a highly transmissible virus. More transmissible than your standard coronavirus before these variants emerged,” he said.
“There is some time to play out and we have tested people relatively early.”
The man from Noble Park in southeast Melbourne tested positive to COVID-19 on Wednesday, five days after completing his last shift at the Grand Hyatt hotel.
The hotel was one of three being used to quarantine Australian Open tennis players, officials and support staff. The man worked as a “resident support officer”.
The case brought Victoria’s 28-day run of zero community transmission to an end and prompted the reintroduction of several restrictions.
Masks must now be worn indoors and the number of visitors allowed in private homes has been halved to 15, while a scheduled increase in the number of workers allowed to return to the office has been shelved.
Professor Sutton stressed there had been no apparent breach in infection prevention and control protocols.
A further 1200 secondary contacts have also been identified including 507 tennis players, officials and support staff.
The Australian Open on Friday confirmed the entire tennis contingent has returned negative results, paving the way for lead-up matches to resume and the tournament to start on Monday.
Meanwhile, Victoria has moved to reclassify Perth and the WA’s South West and Peel regions from a “red” to “orange” risk zone, coinciding with the end of its five-day lockdown.
From 9pm AEDT on Friday, residents of those areas will be able to apply for a permit to travel to Victoria on the condition they get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.
There are currently 22 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria.