Infected Virgin worker flew to NSW, SA

October 9, 2021 BY

Exposure: Passengers on six Virgin flights will be contacted after a crew member tested positive in Victoria. Photo: JAMES ROSS/ AAP IMAGE

AN airline cabin crew member has tested positive for coronavirus after travelling on flights across three states while potentially infectious, Victorian health authorities say.

Meanwhile, 16,000 secondary close contacts will be released from quarantine over the weekend, as health teams try to manage escalating COVID-19 case numbers.

Victoria reported another record-breaking daily case number with 1965 new locally acquired COVID-19 infections in the 24 hours to Saturday.

Another five deaths were reported, including two from Moreland, a woman in her 90s and man in his 70s, a Banyule man in his 60s, a Hobsons Bay man in his 60s, and a Hume man in his 50s.

There are 578 Victorians currently in hospital with COVID-19, of whom 117 are in ICU and 83 on ventilators.

Deputy Health Secretary Kate Matson told reporters on Saturday a Virgin Australia cabin crew member had tested positive, after routine surveillance testing by the airline.

“They worked whilst infectious from 4 to 6 October, and there were six flights in or out of Melbourne that were affected,” she said.

“Fellow crew members on those flights have been deemed close contacts. Most do live in Melbourne and will be contacted by the department.”

The six flights included return trips from Melbourne to Adelaide, Sydney and Newcastle, with passengers on affected flights to be contacted by their state health bodies.

Ms Matson also announced secondary close contacts will no longer be “actively managed” by public health teams, in response to rising case numbers across the state.

She said this was happening in Melbourne, and will now occur statewide.

It means about 16,000 secondary close contacts across the state will receive a text message over the weekend, releasing them from quarantine.

“This just recognises the changing risk and the changing environment that we’re in,” she said.

“We are no longer chasing COVID-zero in Victoria, and we have 17,000 active cases in Victoria.”

While secondary close contacts will no longer have to isolate, primary close contacts will be asked to isolate away from the rest of their household.

Secondary contacts are still encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 if they show any symptoms.

A virus outbreak in Mildura has grown to 37 active infections, after the regional border town was plunged into a seven-day lockdown on Friday night.

Ms Matson said the next seven days “will be crucial” for the region.

“We are particularly concerned about Mildura because of this rate in case growth and we believe there may be additional cases out there yet that we have not found,” she said.

Mildura will be under the same stay-at-home rules as Melbourne, excluding the curfew, with a 15-kilometre travel limit and a ban on visitors at people’s homes.

Health authorities say 41,177 vaccine doses were administered across the state on Friday, as well as 73,000 virus tests.



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