News National Coronavirus latest: Police investigate quarantine breach, international students returning

Coronavirus latest: Police investigate quarantine breach, international students returning

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Nervous Adelaide residents will find out in the next few days the extent to which an infected man who breached quarantine spread the coronavirus in the community.

The South Australian capital was again placed on high alert on Sunday after it was revealed an infected man breached quarantine by visiting several busy locations, including a university.

Police confirmed on Sunday night officers would be called in to investigate and consider charges.

“SAPOL will be working with SA Health to determine the full facts behind the activities of this person, to see if any offences have been committed,” a police spokesman told The New Daily. 

The man, aged in his 30s, is believed to have contracted COVID-19 after attending the Intensive English Language Institute at Flinders University.

South Australia’s chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said the man’s actions posed a “significant risk” to the community.

Anyone who attended the following locations at the below times have been ordered to immediately be tested and remain isolated until they receive their results:

  • Flinders University Sturt campus, Nov 13-28
  • Big W Brickworks, Nov 22, 12.15pm-12.50pm
  • Foodland Norwood, Nov 22, 1.20-2pm
  • Kmart Kurralta Park, Nov 22, 2.45pm-3.10pm.

“Those four locations, we are considering at high risk, and we want anyone who’s been there at those times and dates to get tested,” Professor Spurrier said.

The warning came after contact tracers interviewing the man – one of two new cases announced on Saturday – discovered he broke his home quarantine requirement on November 22 to visit the locations.

Time will tell how far the virus spread

Professor Adrian Esterman, a top epidemiologist at the University of South Australia, said Adelaide will find out in five to seven days how far the man spread the virus.

“It will depend on what stage he was during the infection, which I don’t know,” he told The New Daily.

“You shed different amounts of virus at the beginning of the infection, or toward the end. If he was highly infectious, then of course it’s a worry.

“What we know is 10 per cent of people cause 80 per cent of infections and he might not be one of those 10 per cent. He might not be very infectious. It’s really pot luck.”

Professor Esterman said deciding a punishment for breaching quarantine was no easy task.

“I’m not sure what the authorities can do – it’s a very difficult issue,” he said.

“The best thing we can do is get involved with the community and talk to community leaders and impress on them the importance of people being in quarantine, staying in quarantine.”

International student arriving on Monday

On Monday morning, a charter flight of 70 students is set to arrive in Darwin under a pilot program to bring international students back to Australia.

The students from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia are scheduled to arrive at Darwin International Airport at 7.20am.

They will be the first international students have been allowed into the country since March 20.

Virus in Victorian wastewater

Meanwhile, a testing blitz is underway in Geelong, Victoria, after viral fragments were detected in a nearby sewerage treatment plant in Corio.

This is despite Victoria recording no new coronavirus cases since October 31.

There have also been no known active coronavirus cases in the 3214 postcode, which spans Corio, Norlane and North Shore, since mid-September.

It’s possible the viral fragments may be explained by residents or people visiting these areas shedding the virus weeks after they contracted it.

However, the state’s chief health officer Brett Sutton said the wastewater testing may also indicate virus in the community, with arriving interstate travellers a major risk.

SA’s border with Victoria is due to reopen on Tuesday, allowing free travel between the states for the first time since March.