Australia’s Victoria state reported a COVID- 19 case for the first time in two months leaving the authorities and officials in havoc and in constant search for a source of infection.
A man, who recently returned from India and had completed his hotel quarantine in South Australia, tested positive on Tuesday, authorities said. The officials are concerned as he was returned from India just before they restricted flights from India. The officials had interviewed the victim and made a list of the people that he got contacted in the last few days and asked them to isolate and get tested immediately. The officials also identified the possible infected areas and asked the locals to self-isolate.
South Australian Chief Public Health Officer Professor Spurrier said state officials were engaged in an “inter-jurisdictional or bi-jurisdictional outbreak investigation” and were looking at several hypotheses as to how the man contracted the virus.
“There is a sense of complacency creeping in,” Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters. “We haven’t had really significant outbreaks for some time and people drop their guard, people go about life as if we haven’t been through the 15 months we have all been through. But it is a reminder that we need to be on guard.”
Victoria had no immediate plans to elevate social distancing or mask-wearing rules, said Sutton, adding it was possible the man caught the virus in quarantine in Australia and not in India. Neighbouring New South Wales, reported no new locally acquired Covid-19 cases for a fifth bday straight day on Tuesday as authorities hunt for a missing link in a new infection chain reported last week.
The new Victorian case rekindled calls for the federal government to play a more active role in the hotel quarantine system, which is administered by the states.
“We are going to need a strong border control and a strong quarantine control likely for years,” Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said at the news conference. “We cannot continue to have a situation where it is the states disproportionately bearing the load.”
Australia’s strict approach to the Covid-19 virus and measures was the reason that it just reported 29,900 cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic began.
The new case makes the federal government ponder on the policies. It is the need of the hour for the government to play an active role in the hotel quarantine system and other border restrictions and policies.
It closed its borders to all but citizens and permanent residents in March last year and international arrivals, except New Zealand, spend two weeks in hotel quarantine at their own expense.