Vic tracks risk of virus exposure from airport
No case of community transmission has been recorded in Victoria as the state shuts down from Darwin.
Greater Darwin – including Darwin, Palmerston and Litchfield – will be designated a red zone under Victoria’s travel permit system starting at 8 p.m. Sunday.
The concern is linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at a mine in the Northern Territory, from which three miners have returned to Victoria and are now in isolation.
Victorian health officials said in a statement that non-Victorian residents who have been in a red zone cannot enter the state. Residents can obtain a return permit and self-isolate for 14 days.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he was monitoring the interstate public health situation as COVID-19 outbreaks occur in Darwin as well as in Greater Sydney in the south. east of Queensland and Perth.
Greater Sydney and surrounding areas, as well as Greater Darwin, are the only places currently declared “red zones” by Victoria.
Victoria and the eastern states of Australia also remain on high alert after a domestic flight attendant tested positive for COVID-19.
Melbourne Airport terminals two and three, as well as an airport cafe, have been listed as exhibition venues, and those who have visited during times of concern Friday and Saturday are urged to get tested and to isolate themselves.
On Friday and Saturday, five Virgin Australia flights carried passengers to or from Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
Those on flight VA334 from Brisbane to Melbourne on Friday afternoon were placed in isolation for 14 days.
A total of 128 passengers have been identified and health authorities are contacting them on Sunday, COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said on Sunday.
The flight arrived at 5:20 pm and the staff member stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Southbank which is in the process of being thoroughly cleaned.
“We are working with her and Virgin to ensure that anyone potentially exposed is tracked,” Weimar said.
Victoria has recorded three new cases acquired abroad, more than 20,000 tests and nearly 15,000 doses of the vaccine administered in the last day.
It comes as Health Minister Martin Foley on Saturday underlined the increased police presence at the Victoria-NSW highway border.
About 1,500 Victorians have applied for a red border permit in the past 24 hours, all of whom will need to self-isolate for 14 days if allowed to enter.
Police have stationed additional officers at the interstate border and carry out spot checks and use license plate recognition technology.
Contract tracers are working to make sure Sydney’s infections don’t spread to Victoria after a man in his 60s flew in from the northern city last weekend after witnessing what the authorities have since dubbed a “superspreader” holiday.
The man works in a dry cleaner in Sandringham and infected his boss, Henry Li.
Infections in men have isolated a few hundred primary close contacts, including a residents’ apartment building in Oakleigh where the first man lives. Professor Sutton said all residents have returned negative results and can now be released from isolation.