Health authorities still investigating how India’s strain of Covid-19 seeped out of hotel quarantine

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There is a new revelation from the investigation into how the Indian Covid-19 strain escaped from hotel quarantine to Melbourne.

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Four new COVID-19 cases have been registered in Victoria overnight. The cases come as Queensland and New South Wales are on high alert after a Victorian woman found…

Four new COVID-19 cases have been registered in Victoria overnight. The cases come as Queensland and New South Wales are on high alert after a Victorian woman tested positive for the virus after she and her husband traveled to the Sunshine Coast. Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said authorities will « investigate how this happened ». « I don’t know the details — why they left, what their reason was — right now I’m absolutely focused on getting the information out there, » she said.

Victoria registered four new local cases of coronavirus on Thursday. Image: NCA NewsWire/David CroslingSource: News Corp Australia

Health authorities are still investigating how the infamous Indian strain of Covid-19 has seeped into Melbourne’s community from hotel quarantine.

It comes as Victoria registered four mysterious cases on Thursday — all from the same household — but contact tracers were scrambling to identify the source of acquisition.

Victorian contact tracers earlier this week found a genomic link between a returned traveler who entered the state’s hotel quarantine system on May 8 and the West Melbourne Delta cluster of 15 cases.

The traveler arrived from Sri Lanka on May 8 and tested positive that same day before being transferred from Novotel Ibis quarantine hotel to Holiday Inn health hotel on May 14.

Health authorities are still investigating how the infamous Indian strain of Covid-19 has seeped into Melbourne's community from hotel quarantine.  Image: NCA NewsWire /David Crosling

Health authorities are still investigating how the infamous Indian strain of Covid-19 has seeped into Melbourne’s community from hotel quarantine. Image: NCA NewsWire /David CroslingSource: News Corp Australia

Victorian deputy health official Allen Cheng previously said « four main theories » were being explored about how the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant escaped hotel quarantine.

The four theories were:

  • The traveler infected, or was infected by someone on the flight to Melbourne;
  • The traveler was still contagious after completing his quarantine stay at the hotel;
  • The traveler has transferred the virus to a quarantine employee;
  • The traveler infected another resident of the hotel.

But Professor Cheng was unable to explain further on Thursday which theory was the cause.

« As for the first possibility, we’ve looked at testing all the other 24 arrivals on the plane, and we’re still looking at details about ground personnel who may have been on the plane after that flight departed, » he said.

« We now believe that the second possibility is probably unlikely, as it was cleared correctly with positive serology.

“As for the latter possibility, we re-contacted the 12 residents and retested most, but found that they had all tested negative multiple times.

« So this leaves that third possibility, from staff. »

Victoria deputy health officer Professor Allen Cheng says there is still no link between the hotel quarantine case and the West Melbourne cluster.  Image: NCA NewsWire/Paul Jeffers

Victoria deputy health officer Professor Allen Cheng says there is still no link between the hotel quarantine case and the West Melbourne cluster. Image: NCA NewsWire/Paul JeffersSource: News Corp Australia

Professor Cheng said health authorities had checked 268 employees at the Ibis Hotel and about 370 at the Holiday Inn, including health workers, cleaners, hotel staff and Victoria Police officers.

« We also checked their addresses to make sure they don’t live near either of the two families (in the West Melbourne cluster), » he said.

« We have continued to look upstream of the two families and have tested their contacts, while there are still a few more tests to come, we are not coming up with a transmission path between this quarantined case and any of the families.

« While the public health team believes we are able to relax restrictions, these new cases are truly the strongest reminder that we are far from being out of the woods. »

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