Victoria has registered her first active COVID-19 cases in six weeks.
The five new cases are all travelers returned to hotel quarantine after the state’s borders reopened to international arrivals last weekend.
The five new cases include a man in his 30s, a man in his 50s, a woman in her 20s, a woman in her 30s and a woman in her 50s.
“Everyone is being treated at the health hotel and will remain there until they have been cleared from a clinical perspective for their own well-being and a public health perspective, when any risk of spreading the virus has been eliminated,” said the deputy chief of state. The health officer for the hotel’s quarantine, Ben Cowie, said.
Professor Cowie’s new hotel quarantine system in the state is well prepared for new cases.
“This was anticipated … The detection of positive cases shows that the system is working and doing what it is supposed to do.”
Professor Cowie said he understood the potential anxiety around new cases given the state’s tumultuous history with the hotel quarantine system that led to a second wave of COVID-19.
“They are right to be anxious, it is understandable,” he said.
“Everyone has been through a very difficult year, so it is totally understandable that they see that it is not a zero and they feel anxious about it.”
“All measures are being taken and all resources are being mobilized in the best possible way, those numbers remain in hotel quarantine and those people receive the best standards of care.”
The state has accepted 735 foreign travelers into the state since the borders were reopened, with 680 people currently staying in quarantine hotels and 55 in health hotels, including the five people who tested positive for COVID-19.
Professor Cowie reassured Victorians about the stringent health requirements currently in place to deal with international arrivals.
“Returning travelers leave the plane in small groups, which means that they do not enter the terminal, they must wear a mask and practice physical distancing at all times,” he said.
All arrivals must be tested for COVID-19, and staff working in quarantine hotels are also subject to routine testing.
Professor Cowie said more than 2,000 tests have been conducted so far on staff working in the hotel’s quarantine program.