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Local News - Victoria

public health guru pens prescription for lockdown fever


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A near miraculous side benefit involved Australia’s Nick Kyrgios. He stayed away and transformed himself from clown prince to international tennis’s voice of reason by firing off an arch tweet: “Prayers up to all the players that have contracted COVID-19. Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ — this takes the cake.”

Now, amid the shambolic triumph that is the so-called preparation for the Australian Open, Djokovic has reportedly penned a six-point prescription to make life more pleasant for the increasing numbers of players locked away in hotel rooms.

He wants fitness and training materials in all rooms, which sounds sensible … unless you’re a hotel proprietor already growing restive about the sound of tennis balls being smashed into walls and windows and are perhaps dubious about turning suites into power-lifting gyms.

There is the matter of food, too.

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“Decent food suitable for elite players” is required under the Djokovic plan.

Given that each player can expect a cheque for $90,000 for simply making it to round one (and $20,000 for merely turning up for the first round of qualifying), may we suggest a few instructions to Uber Eats to pick up a spot of elite tucker from, say, Rockpool, with a sizeable tip thrown in?

There’s a bit more about reducing time in isolation and allowing visits by coaches and personal trainers, but the final demand is pure genius.

“Relocation of as many tennis players as possible to private houses with a tennis court for their isolation period.”

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Would that come with a convoy of chefs, party organisers and DJs hurrying to Portsea, by any chance?

Unfair as it may sound, Premier Daniel Andrews took about two minutes on Monday to tell Djokovic he was dreamin’.

Spoil sport.

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Annastacia Palaszczuk’s covid quarantine mining camps a ‘health risk’


Queensland’s ‘voice of the bush’ Robbie Katter says the regions are willing to chip in and help solve the state’s quarantine drama, but fears moving returning travellers to mining camps greatly risks vulnerable communities.

The Katter Australian Party leader said towns such as Cloncurry in the Sunshine State’s north west are under resourced and could be decimated by a coronavirus outbreak following Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s pitch to base quarantine sites at mining camps.

Ms Palaszczuk announced on Thursday she would take a proposal to the next national cabinet to use “a couple” of the isolated camps in regional and rural Queensland to house returned travellers.

It follows a concerning cluster at a Brisbane city hotel quarantine facility where six people have contracted the same contagious strain of COVID-19, seemingly without a link.

Residents in remote communities tolerate an undersupply of vital health services but enjoy a safe distance from the threat of the cities – including the widespread transmission of the deadly pandemic, Mr Katter told NCA NewsWire.

“People will often live in a remote area because they’re protected from things like this virus, and they’ll put up with not having a doctor or vital public services,” he said.

“Those people put up with a lot living in a remote area to have that barrier away from the negative influence of the cities. And to have (quarantine responsibilities) then dumped and imposed on them, that’s a big thing.”

RELATED: Palaszczuk accused of wanting to dump coronavirus on regions

The Member for Traeger said Roma would be another concern if it were called on to host travellers and others in quarantine.

“Bloody hell that would be a bit tough on them,” Mr Katter said.

“They (the state government) would want to think hard about why they do it and not just, as usual, use the country towns as the whipping boys.”

Mr Katter said, however, that particularly remote mining sites would be ideal given the direct access to bitumen airstrips and modern accommodation facilities.

“If it’s 50-100 km or more away from a major town, then that makes a lot of sense,” he said. “But I would just be wary of those camps that are close to town.”

The comments come as senior federal politicians, acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, questioned the pitch from the Queensland Premier, saying relocating facilities out of cities could jeopardise “health outcomes”.

Mr Birmingham queried the move, saying quarantine facilities needed to have access to medical services and testing facilities.

“That is why the health advice has driven us towards these city hotel locations that can be locked down, but are proximate to those types of health services and testing services that are so important to do it effectively,” he told Today on Friday.

“Let’s remember that in the vast majority of cases, these are about returning Australian citizens. So we want to do it in ways that show compassion to their circumstances, too.”

Mr McCormack said the state government would have to thoroughly assess regional facilities before they opened.

“The state government will look at risk assessments, look at their capability and provisions to be able to keep that stringent public health outcome as number one,” he said on Friday.

“The first order priority with COVID-19 is making sure we’ve got the right health outcomes.

“States are limited by their policing and their ability to make sure that quarantining is what it needs to be. That’s why when there was this virulent UK strain of the virus, quarantining was reduced by half.”

Mr McCormack added extra ADF personnel could be deployed to help Queensland.

“We’ll look at any request that comes in as we have done all the way through. There are 1,500 Australian Defence Force personnel working closely with state governments as we speak, to ensure that we get the right outcomes,” he said.



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Health watchdog probes thermometers amid inaccuracy concerns


“Skin temperature can be affected by ambient temperature. If it’s a very cold day your skin temperature will be cold,” she explained.

“For an actual diagnosis of having a fever it is your core temperature you need to take.”

She said infrared thermometers could provide false reassurance or lead to panic.

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“It might say that you don’t have a fever when you actually do or you do have a fever and you actually don’t,” Professor Russell said. “It can give you the wrong information.”

She referred to international research which found while some devices failed to detect 96 per cent of fevers, others picked up 90 per cent of fevers.

The devices’ also falsely diagnosed patients with fevers, she said.

“You’d want a screening tool that performs better than that,” she said. “For the devices to be useful they need to not only detect fever but also have a low rate of false positives as these can lead to unnecessary tests, inconvenience and stress.”

While the devices have traditionally been used by parents wanting a non-intrusive way to check a baby’s temperature, they have become increasingly popular as a screening tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are usually positioned towards a person’s forehead, from a distance.

In July, the Victorian government distributed 14,000 of the devices to schools in greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, with students sent home and asked to get a COVID-19 test if they recorded a high temperature.

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Concerns have also been raised about the reliability of fever as an indicator of COVID-19.

Data collected by Victoria’s public health team reveals that coughs, sore throats and runny noses are the most common symptoms being detected among those who test positive to coronavirus, with fever apparent in only about 20 per cent of infections.

Professor Caroline Miller, director of the health policy centre at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Centre, said there was limited value in using thermometers as a screening tool for coronavirus.

“A fever is not the most prevalent symptom for COVID,” she said. “Coughing is a more common symptom. And then people are infectious prior to them becoming symptomatic so they’re not reporting high temperatures. [Temperature screenings] don’t do a great job of predicting COVID at a population-level.”

She also raised concerns about the accuracy of non-contact infrared thermometers.

“They are a lot less precise compared to say a doctor taking your temperature in a clinic setting with a thermometer that goes into your ears.”

But Altona North GP Dr Mukesh Haikerwell said the devices had been a useful screening tool at his respiratory clinic, which has tested 1500 patients for coronavirus since April.

But he acknowledged the devices could be fiddly, and said they “conked out” if the weather was too hot or cold. “They have an optimum operating temperature,” he said.

Of the 44 complaints lodged with the TGA since the end of last March, four matters have been closed as no noncompliance was identified and eight are under current investigation.

“A number have been closed following correspondence with the advertiser,” a spokeswoman said.

Consumers have previously complained about inaccurate high readings on infrared thermometers, “abnormal and inconsistent values”, according to reports on the TGA’s website.

There are currently 320 electronic and infrared thermometers listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, with the TGA receiving scores of new applications in response to COVID-19.

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Qld health authorities reject son’s bid to see dying mum


Queensland health authorities have rejected a desperate bid from a man wanting to leave quarantine to visit his dying mother.

Marko Marttila arrived in Brisbane on Friday and pleaded with authorities to be allowed to temporarily leave hotel quarantine to spend a few hours with his dying mum, according to reporting from The Courier-Mail.

But health minister Yvette D‘Ath said the request to isolate at the family home had been rejected.

“It is very difficult and it has been throughout the period of dealing with COVID in having to make these decisions in relation to people’s loved ones and wanting to visit them when they are terminally ill,” she told reporters on Saturday morning.

RELATED: Major milestone in Qld cluster revealed

“These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, and on this occasion it has been assessed that the exemption is not granted.

“Of course, (Queensland) Health will do everything they can to find other ways that there can be communication between this individual and his mother while he is quarantining.”

Mr Marttila has reportedly been attempting to return to Brisbane from the United States for months in a bid to get home to spend time with his mother, Anneli, who has terminal bowel cancer.

Sari Marttila told The Courier-Mail her mother-in-law “lit up” when she found out her son was coming back to Australia.

However, it is unlikely she will last another 13 days, she said.

“The drastic decline that she’s had within the last two weeks, it’s just obvious, I’m not God but there’s no way we can see that she’ll still be around in two weeks time,” Ms Marttila told The Courier-Mail.

She said they would like someone to consider whether Mr Marttila could be let out “for just a few hours to see her, just anything that would give her the chance to say goodbye.”

But Ms D’Ath said the horrific rate of infection in the United States meant the risk to the community was too great as the global death tally from the pandemic inched above two million.

“This gentleman came from Massachusetts — there has been 454,000 positive cases in that area,” she said.

“We have to be very strict with any exemptions made from hotel quarantine because it is not just about the individual and their loved ones, but the safety of all Queenslanders and all Australians to ensure we do not get the spread of COVID, particularly now that we are seeing new variants popping up around the globe.

“We are already aware of the UK and South African variants, but there are now other variants that are now starting to develop around the world which are putting more at risk as far as an increase in infectious virus through the communities.”



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Acting PM Michael McCormack says World Health Organisation China probe will ‘get answers’ despite Beijing fears


Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has backed World Health Organisation investigators to “get the answers they need” despite fears China will attempt to impede a probe into the coronavirus.

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) international team has touched down in Wuhan to investigate the origins of COVID-19, first detected in the city in late-2019.

Australia called for the investigation in April, a move widely viewed as triggering months of escalating trade tensions between Canberra and Beijing.

RELATED: China in lockdown after huge virus spike

China has slapped trade sanctions on a range of Australian products since Canberra’s push, but Mr McCormack downplayed suggestions the WHO’s arrival would hamper efforts to mend relations.

“Our phone lines are always open, our doors are always open (to Beijing),” he told reporters on Friday.

“As far as diplomatic relations with China and trade are concerned, I know how important it is for producers … to ensure we continue our trade with China, which is worth $149.6bn.”

Concerns have been raised over Beijing’s willingness to allow a transparent investigation after it temporarily blocked investigators from entering, citing visa approval issues.

Mr McCormack would not be drawn on whether Beijing would attempt to impede the probe but backed the WHO to conduct its work “very diligently”.

“I’m not going to get into a debate about what China should or shouldn’t do,” he said.

“I’m sure that the World Health Organisation, being the robust organisation that it is, will make sure that its inquiries are what they need to be.

“They will … undertake their work in the most professional manner. I’m sure they’ll come up with the answers they need.”

Mr McCormack also pushed back against one of the more bizarre salvos in the China-Australia trade stoush after Beijing criticised Australian cherries for being “inferior … in taste and quality” compared with their Chilean equivalents.

Australian cherry growers hit back on Thursday, saying they offered the “premium cherry product in the world”.

Mr McCormack rubbished claims overseas cherry growers produced superior fruits.

“They’re certainly not better. I’ve tasted both Batlow and Young cherries … They were the biggest, plumpest, ripest, most tasty cherries I’ve ever had,” he said.

“They went down very well on the Christmas dinner table, let me tell you. I’m sure wherever else they produce cherries in Australia, they are the best. You want to get stuck into them, they’re great: red, juicy and plump.”



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Health Minister defends ‘red zones’ as state records ninth day of no local COVID-19 cases, two recorded in hotel quarantine


“The case is not linked to a known case or public exposure site. Final test results are expected today, and these results will be reviewed by the expert review panel to make a final determination on the case classification.”

Health Minister Martin Foley said he understood the frustration of Victorians stranded in Sydney or Brisbane, which are still considered red zones by the state government, but he did not want to risk another outbreak in Victoria.

“I understand and have great sympathy for the circumstances that many Victorians find themselves in at the current time,” Mr Foley said.

“We’re constantly going through those processes and we’re constantly reviewing the risks associated with the red zones in both the five local government areas in Brisbane and the local government areas in Greater Sydney.”

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Mr Foley said that the advice would change once the risks changed.

“I understand the frustrations and the dislocation this is causing, but even more so I understand the frustration and dislocation that another cluster outbreak in Victoria would cause,” he said.

“I apologise for the dislocation that this has caused but I make no apology for the principle of keeping Victoria safe and keeping Victoria open.”

So far 128,833 permits to travel into Victoria have been processed since the state’s new “traffic light” system was introduced on January 11, including 20,841 in the last 24 hours.

At least 100,000 people have been allowed to travel, although more than 82 per cent of applications were from Victorians in green-zone areas. Nine per cent have been from people in orange zones and the remainder from people seeking worker permits or trying to transit through orange and red zones.

However, two busloads of tennis players arrived at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne’s CBD on Friday morning, where they were greeted by a strong police presence.

“Nobody is getting an answer as to why the tennis players can come in but nobody else can,” said Melbourne businessman John Frostell, who is stuck in Sydney.

Tennis players Andy Murray and Madison Keys have been blocked from boarding flights to Melbourne after testing positive to COVID-19. Both would need to return a negative test if they still want to travel to Melbourne for the grand slam and would still need to undergo 14 days of stringent quarantine, Mr Foley said.

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“Should Mr Murray arrive … he will be subject to those same rigorous arrangements as everyone else,” he said.

Another player, Tennys Sandgren, has received an exemption to travel despite returning a positive COVID-19 test result, which has been determined to be a case of viral shedding. Sandgren is no longer considered infectious.

The government has said the players will be subject to the “strictest rules for tennis anywhere in the world” as they quarantine for the next two weeks, but that is little comfort to Victorians barred from returning home.

Meanwhile, up to 25 per cent of the state’s public sector workers and up to 50 per cent of office workers in the private sector can return to their desks from Monday, without being required to wear a mask indoors. However, the Premier and employer groups predict flexible working arrangements are here to stay.

Office workers won’t have to wear masks indoors, but they are still required in shops, hospitals, on public transport and on planes.

NSW has recorded two cases of COVID-19 in the 24-hour period to 8pm on Thursday, but for a second straight day none of those were within the community.

However, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “relief is on its way” over restrictions if the state can improve testing rates and maintain low numbers of virus detection in the community. NSW saw 16,070 people come forward for testing on Thursday.

Queensland has recorded three new coronavirus cases, with two new infections in hotel quarantine and one historical case, according to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Health authorities are not concerned about the historical case.

The walls of Brisbane’s Grand Chancellor hotel, where there was an outbreak of the UK variant of coronavirus, have been swabbed and sent away for testing as police investigate how a cleaner became infected before she spent four days mingling in the community.

The 129 quarantined guests evacuated from the Grand Chancellor to other quarantine hotels on Wednesday over fears of a cluster within the facility have all tested negative.

Eighteen Victorians who completed their hotel quarantine stay at the Grand Chancellor since December 30 have been contacted and some, but not all, may need to isolate.

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regional quarantine hotels ruled out, Health Minister Brad Hazzard says


The NSW government has ruled out moving coronavirus quarantine hotels to regional areas, the state’s health minister says.

The comments from Brad Hazzard came after the Queensland Premier revealed her government was considering turning rural mining camps into quarantine facilities.

Annastacia Palaszczuk said such a plan would be a “rational option” given a new, more contagious strain of coronavirus had entered Australia and spread in the Brisbane community.

But NSW authorities would not follow suit, Mr Hazzard said.

“This has been looked at very closely by the NSW public health team over the full duration of this particular pandemic,” he said.

“There’s strong views held in our public health team it makes sense to continue to have the hotel quarantine arrangements we currently have.”

He said the main concerns were around transporting arriving overseas travellers to the regions, which might pose a risk of spreading the virus in transit.

Authorities also want to be able to quickly transfer a patient whose condition deteriorates to a major hospital, something that would be harder to do if the quarantine facilities weren’t located in Sydney.

“We simply do not believe, the public health advice here in NSW, we don’t believe there would be an advantage, in fact, (it would mean) distinct disadvantages to consider moving our public health hotels out of the Sydney regional area,” Mr Hazzard said.

Earlier on Thursday, NSW Health issued a warning that anybody who had visited the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane since December 30 needed to immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days after they were last at the hotel regardless of their test result.

Contact tracers have spoken to all 10 NSW residents who were reported to have visited the hotel, Mr Hazzard said.

The new virus strain spread at the hotel after a man quarantining there was confirmed infected after returning from the UK.

Fears of wider community spread led the Queensland government to lock down Brisbane for three days last weekend.



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Health authorities scramble as virus creeps across floor seven of the Hotel Grand Chancellor


Queensland health authorities have spent the night scrambling for answers over how six existing cases of the UK’s highly infectious COVID strain were linked to the same quarantine hotel despite having no contact.

Queenslanders fear the state is “on the brink” of a nightmare after it was revealed that the cases had no direct contact with each other except for the fact they all stayed on the same floor of the hotel, the seventh floor.

Queensland’s Health Chief Dr Jeanette Young has already admitted that authorities are “struggling” to find out how the virus escaped and spread so quickly, while Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has warned the cluster could have implications for all Australian states and territories.

“This is a new highly infectious strain, we do not want to see this getting out in the community. This is of concern, this is of national concern, not just to Queensland, but every where else”.

RELATED: Experts say it is unlikely airconditioning spread coronavirus

RELATED: Distressed guests told in ‘vague’ letter to undergo more quarantine

RELATED: World’s first ‘proven’ documented case of COVID-19 reinfection

A large fleet of ambulances were pictured evacuating 129 guests from the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane’s CBD yesterday after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed it was now a cluster.

Those currently staying in the hotel for quarantine were rushed to nearby quarantine hotels yesterday and growing transmission concerns after genomic testing linked the six cases to the highly infectious UK B.1.1.7 strain of COVID-19.

The strain first appeared on December 30 after a returned traveller arrived from the UK and later tested positive.

His wife later tested positive, along with a hotel cleaner who contracted the virus and infected her partner.

Those cases forced Greater Brisbane into a three-day lockdown after it was revealed the cleaner had visited multiple venues across the city while infectious.

While movement restrictions eased on Monday night, a number of tight restrictions, especially surrounding the wearing of face masks, will continue until next Friday.

The latest two cases, a man and his daughter who arrived from Lebanon, have sparked a new crisis after sequencing revealed they had picked up the same strain.

Health authorities were already stumped on how the cleaner picked up the virus but the two new cases have sparked fear over the rate of transmission and how the virus is moving around.

Premier Palaszczuk said the only known connection between those infected at the Hotel Grand Chancellor was that they were on the seventh floor.

Dr Young said she “doesn’t understand how it’s happened on floor seven”, and suggested the virus could have travelled throughout the hotel.

“We’ve seen in other states there’s been transmission from one floor, missed a floor, then down to the next floor, and they haven’t been able to work out how.

“So now that we’ve had two separate transmission events, I think we have to be very cautious.”

A joint Queensland Health and Queensland Police investigation is ongoing to determine how the virus escaped, with Dr Young admitting the results of the genomic sequencing were “surprising”.

“We know they are linked. What we don’t know how they’re linked in terms of spread from one person to the next. We just know that in some way this has happened,” she said.

“We’re going to be very, very careful about floor seven and see whether that’s where it spread and the rest of the hotel is fine, but we don’t know, so we’re taking a really cautious approach, as we always do here in Queensland.”

“This is new information. To have six people linked to someone who has been in quarantine, that’s different to what we’ve seen before,” she said.

“This has happened very quickly and we’re struggling to find how it’s got out of that room.”

Authorities will examine four days worth of CCTV in the hopes they can pinpoint the moment the infection occurred, but have previously said they may never be able to do so.

Authorities believe the transmissions occurred on floor seven, however Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters on Wednesday there was no CCTV on that particular floor.

“Not only are we investigating the actions of any persons that were involved with the Grand Chancellor Hotel who worked there or may have been in quarantine there, we are investigating the behaviour of a virus which is new, so this is a very difficult thing to do,” he said.

“That means we have to be even more meticulous in going about our investigation and that will be ongoing,” he said.

Palaszczuk on Wednesday posed the question that airconditioning ventilation may have spread the virus at Hotel Grand Chancellor in inner Brisbane but infectious disease experts say it is unlikely to be the cause of a cluster.

“The WHO, in June, put out a statement on airconditioning,” Griffith University Infectious Diseases & Immunology director Nigel McMillan said.

“They looked at the studies and came to the conclusion that airconditioning systems, that are well designed and maintained, were not a contributing factor to spreading the disease/”

“There’s a possibility the Chancellor’s airconditioning is not well maintained or well designed or there’s some other explanation.

“On the balance of probabilities the airconditioning system is probably not the likely cause.”

A number of venues have been put on alert, with anyone who visited locations including Bunnings Acacia Ridge and Sunnybank Cellars at designated times to get tested and quarantine for 14 days.

Any one who has been at the hotel since December 30 is being urged to get tested and quarantine.

TASMANIA REACTS

The Tasmanian government is urging any one who quarantined at the Hotel Grand Chancellor and is now in Tasmania to self-isolate immediately and call public health.

“Don’t come to Tasmania … that’s what a high-risk classification is,” Premier Peter Gutwein said.

Greater Brisbane will remain high-risk due to the risk of the infectious strain, meaning travellers from the area who arrived in Tasmania on or after January 8 must quarantine for 14 days.

Greater Sydney and Wollongong will remain classified as medium-risk.

The government will review the situation over the coming days.

VICTORIA REACTS

The Victorian government is asking any one currently in Victoria who has completed 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine in Brisbane at the Grand Chancellor Hotel on or after December 30 to isolate immediately and call the coronavirus hotline.

Travel from Brisbane to Victoria remains banned.

Find more information here.

NSW REACTS

The Queensland government has notified NSW Health there were three people staying at the hotel who have since returned to NSW.

Health authorities are scrambling to identify NSW residents who had recently been at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane amid fears they could spread a highly contagious strain of COVID-19.

NSW Health is calling on anyone who has been at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane since 30 December, either as a returned traveller or as a staff member, to immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days after they were last at the hotel regardless of their test result.



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Chadstone outlet attended by mystery COVID-19 case says it is yet to be contacted by health officials


Premier Daniel Andrews said the mystery case, also known as the Vermont South case, had been genetically linked to the northern beaches outbreak, but his case cannot yet be linked to any other cluster in Melbourne.

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Authorities warned that anyone who shopped at Chadstone shops Superdry, Culture Kings, Huffer, JD Sports, Jay Jays, H&M, Uniqlo, Myer, Foot Locker or Dumplings Plus on December 26 between 6am to 2pm, or sat in zone five at the MCG between 12.30pm and 3.30 pm on December 27, should get tested. Zara was added to the list on Thursday.

COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said he couldn’t comment on the Superdry situation.

“We will always put the information out as quickly as we possibly can. [We] will then follow up with individual sites where it’s possible to do so,” he said.

Mr Weimar said they were looking for an acquisition source at Chadstone and the MCG and that individual stores didn’t have much useful information.

“Our priority is not to deal with the individual stores in Chadstone,” he said.

Mr Weimar earlier said the department was able to identify close contacts of the mystery case quickly through the QR codes provided to the Chadstone shops by the public.

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“It is how we have confined the 34 people who are close contacts of the Vermont South case. It is only through that kind of proactive work that all of us can do,” he said.

“My thanks to every single store, hospitality venue who is doing the hard yards to make that work.”

The government’s coronavirus website says contact tracers will contact businesses identified as having potentially been visited by someone with COVID-19. QR code data is stored in secure databases managed by the government.

The Superdry spokesman said that Chadstone staff had spoken to workers at other the other listed stores, who said they also hadn’t been contacted by the department.

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Dumplings Plus Chadstone’s retail manager Ken Lee said he was contacted by the department on Wednesday afternoon.

The Superdry spokesman said the store would reopen on Thursday with staff from other stores after a deep clean was completed on Wednesday.

Authorities do not believe the man was contagious when he visited Chadstone and the MCG, but they fear he might have acquired the virus at one of the sites. He was wearing a mask while shopping at Chadstone.

The Age has sought comment from all Chadstone shops listed on the Health Department’s website as a potential COVID-19 acquisition site other than Zara.

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How Department of Health and Human Services exposure sites changed and changed again


The Guilty Moose Cafe, Albert Park – changed by nine days

On January 2, the DHHS published the following information:

January 2 advice

  • Exposure Type: Contacts must isolate until a negative result
  • Exposure period: 30/12/20 1pm-1.30pm
  • Notes: Case ate at cafe

On January 4, the DHHS published the following information changing the exposure date to nine days prior:

January 4 advice

  • Exposure Type: Contacts must isolate until negative result
  • Exposure period: 21/12/20 1pm-1.30pm
  • Notes: Case ate at cafe
Local residents read a message about the coronavirus and the cafe's dealings with DHHS on the window of The Guilty Moose cafe in Albert Park.

Local residents read a message about the coronavirus and the cafe’s dealings with DHHS on the window of The Guilty Moose cafe in Albert Park.Credit:Chris Hopkins

On January 5, the exposure was removed entirely due to the incident being more than two weeks old.


Coles supermarket, Chirnside Park – incorrectly named as the Woolworths in the same shopping centre

At midday on January 4, the DHHS published the following information:

Initial January 4 advice

  • Exposure Type: Contacts must self-monitor for symptoms
  • Site: Woolworths, 239-241 Maroondah Highway, Chirnside Park
  • Exposure period: 31/12/2020 10am-10.15am
  • Notes: Case shopped at venue

Three hours later, the DHHS published the following information changing the location to the Coles outlet at the same address:

Second January 4 advice

  • Exposure Type: Contacts must self-monitor for symptoms
  • Site: Coles, 239-241 Maroondah Highway, Chirnside Park
  • Exposure period: 31/12/2020 10am-10.15am
  • Notes: Case shopped at venue

The Melbourne Central Lion Hotel.

The Melbourne Central Lion Hotel.

Lion Hotel, Central Melbourne — five changes to exposure risk and timeframe

On January 3, the DHHS published the following information:

Initial January 3 advice

  • Exposure Type: Contacts must be tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of result
  • Site: Melbourne Central Lion Hotel, 211 La Trobe Street
  • Exposure period: 28/12/2020 10pm-12.30am
  • Notes: Case attended venue

Later that night, the the DHHS published the following information changing the exposure type and indicating contacts should isolate until a negative result:

Second January 3 advice

  • Exposure Type: Contacts must isolate until a negative result
  • Site: Melbourne Central Lion Hotel, 211 La Trobe Street
  • Exposure period: 28/12/2020 10pm-12.30am
  • Notes: Case attended venue

On January 4, the DHHS published the following information changing the time exposure:

Initial January 4 advice

  • Exposure Type: Contacts must isolate until a negative result
  • Site: Melbourne Central Lion Hotel, 211 La Trobe Street
  • Exposure period: 28/12/2020 10.30pm-12am
  • Notes: Case attended venue

Later that day, the exposure type changed back to a 14-day isolation period for contacts:

Second January 4 advice

  • Exposure Type: Contacts must be tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of result
  • Site: Melbourne Central Lion Hotel, 211 La Trobe Street
  • Exposure period: 28/12/2020 10.30pm-12am
  • Notes: Case attended venue

Then, later that night again, the time frame shifted again by 30 minutes:

Third January 4 advice

  • Exposure Type: Contacts must be tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of result
  • Site: Melbourne Central Lion Hotel, 211 La Trobe Street
  • Exposure period: 28/12/2020 10:00pm-12am
  • Notes: Case attended venue

After public scrutiny of its process around making changes, the DHHS on Tuesday began publicising alterations to exposure sites at the top of its webpage.

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