The national coronavirus death toll has been revised down by one after further tests on the body of the man thought to be Australia’s youngest COVID-19 victim.
The original examination conducted after Nathan Turner died last week led authorities in Queensland to declare the 30-year-old had died of coronavirus.
His death left health authorities baffled as to how someone became infected in the small town of Blackwater where there had been no known active cases.
An autopsy has since been conducted and another coronavirus test was returned as negative.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said authorities had acted based on results from a post-mortem test that showed Mr Turner had the coronavirus.
His partner, Simone Devon, also reported he was feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms for weeks.
“On that basis Queensland Health established a rapid public health response, including quarantining and testing close contacts, expanding COVID-19 testing in Blackwater and talking to the community, as it would expect us to do,” Dr Young said in a statement.
“The Coroner tonight advised that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19,” the statement released on Monday night read.
The news has been welcomed in Blackwater, where residents had been on edge amid questions over how Mr Turner could have contracted the illness – and whether it was therefore unknowingly spreading in the town.
Queensland Health had had the town’s sewage tested and hundreds of Blackwater locals were also screened, as contact tracers arrived in town to help track the movement of the virus.
“Now his loved ones can be left in peace and Nathan can finally RIP,” Fairbairn Bakery Emerald, where Ms Devon works, wrote on Facebook.
The national death toll is now 102, not 103. Three people are in ICU, with 482 active cases.
Concerns over virus clusters remain as restrictions ease
Three recently returned travellers in hotel quarantine in New South Wales tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday.
NSW Health acting director Dr Christine Selvey warned the risk of outbreaks and a resurgence of cases remains.
“While there have been few cases recorded in the past 24 hours, the virus is likely circulating among people in the community with mild symptoms,” Dr Selvey said in a video update to media.
She again urged anyone with the mildest symptoms to get tested.
Locals were eager to wet their lips on the brim of a cold schooner in Sydney’s inner west.
They packed the Woolpack Hotel in Redfern, with Hotel licensee Ryan Gardam describing the scenes on Monday as “hectic”.
He was also glad to see some new faces giving the place a go, saying “the community spirit and attitude has been so positive”.
Coronavirus restrictions are slowly being eased across Australia with states and territories at different stages on the roadmap to reopen the nation.
Cafe, pub, and restaurant owners were rejoicing on Monday as patrons returned after 10 weeks of lockdown.
Gyms were back on South Australia – as long as everyone plays by the rules.
And public libraries were also back in full swing.
- Travel is returning in some places. Read more here
- More Australians are be able to dine in restaurants and cafes. Check the latest here