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Health officials ‘confident’ infected Woolworths worker didn’t pose a risk

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The man met the criteria needed to secure his release from one of Melbourne’s quarantine hotels, Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen has said.

Questions are being raised about how an infected worker was able to leave hotel quarantine in Victoria to travel to New South Wales, forcing the isolation of 50 colleagues.

Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said she was "confident" the man didn't pose a risk to the community.

The man, who works at a Woolworths store in Balmain in Sydney's inner west, was on shift while infectious having tested positive for coronavirus twice.

He arrived in Melbourne on a flight from Bangladesh on June 11 and was quarantined in a hotel for 14 days.

The man tested positive to COVID-19 on the fourth day of quarantine but was cleared to leave on day 14 and travel to Sydney where he went to work in the Darling Street store's self-service checkout section.

Woolworths then asked the man to get another test and he tested positive.

Dr van Diemen said the man met the criteria needed to secure his release from one of Melbourne's quarantine hotels, which are now the subject of a judicial inquiry due to a number of alleged infection control breaches.

"There is a standard set of release from isolation criteria that is agreed upon nationally and it is consistent as well with the WHO criteria," Dr van Diemen said.

"That is when a patient has had more than 10 days since the onset of symptoms, including 72 hours being symptom and fever free, they are released from isolation and clinically declared to be released from isolation."

Victoria has recorded 66 cases of coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 2368.

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More than 10,000 people have refused to be tested for coronavirus in Melbourne's hotspot suburbs.

"People can shed this virus weeks to months and the shedding virus is not the same as being infectious," Dr van Diemen said.

"The man met the criteria and stayed for another two days on top of having the criteria because he was in hotel quarantine, he would have been released from any hotel quarantine in the country based on the criteria, including any hotel in Sydney with a person coming from Melbourne."

Yesterday Dr Kerry Chant said the case was still under investigation and the level of virus detected in the man was "very very low", but NSW Health was being extremely cautious.

"For the abundance of precaution, we are treating him as infectious," Dr Chant said.

Health officials have urged  anyone who lives in Balmain to come forward if they have any symptoms resembling coronavirus.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-victoria-why-infected-woolworths-employee-was-able-to-leave-hotel-quarantine-in-melbourne/50cbc73e-1a06-49ff-989c-5e79e525768c

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