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SA tennis COVID case reporting under fire

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SA Health is defending its decision not to report a positive COVID-19 test linked with the tennis entourage arriving for the A Day at the Drive exhibition in Adelaide last month, describing the case as an old infection.

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It comes after French tennis player Benoit Paire – who vented his frustration with the greater amount of time players quarantining in Adelaide were allowed to train compared to those in Melbourne – claimed on Monday that a positive case was on a flight to Adelaide.

“What happened is shameful,” Paire told French media.

“There was also a positive case on the flight to Adelaide but there, they had time to take blood samples. We were told to quarantine.

“Either we do the same things and the same rules for everyone. I do not understand why it’s not fair for everyone.”

The positive test was recorded by a support staff member of one of the tennis players, according to Nine News.

SA Health includes weak positive tests that need further investigation in its daily COVID update and amends the state’s COVID tally afterwards if the positive result is deemed an old infection.

Shadow Health Minister Chris Picton questioned why the case went unreported.

“It is shocking that Steven Marshall kept this case secret during his many press conferences about the tennis match,” Picton said.

“While Mr Marshall triumphed in speaking next to famous tennis stars, he owed it to our state to tell us about this case.

“The community has been told about other old infections detected – whereas when the tennis was involved it was covered up.”

In a statement, Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said the case was not reported to avoid “double counting” of cases already recorded overseas.

“All infectious cases of COVID-19 are added to the South Australian count and reported publicly,” Spurrier said.

“To avoid double counting of cases worldwide, if any case has clearly been diagnosed overseas, has recovered and is not infectious, and previously been counted towards the international tally, there is no requirement to report this publicly.”

Health Minister Stephen Wade this morning dismissed Labor’s concerns, calling them a “political opportunist attack” on the chief public health officer.

“This is a disappointing, political opportunist attack by Labor on Nicola Spurrier,” Wade tweeted.

“Old, inactive cases which have already been counted overseas are not added in our tally.

“I call on @PMalinauskasMP to unite behind the South Australian public health team rather than undermine it.”

SA Health recorded no new COVID-19 cases yesterday, with two active cases remaining in the state.

SA also recorded its one-millionth coronavirus test yesterday, with SA Pathology Clinical Services Director Dr Tom Dodd saying the state’s testing rates remain among the highest in the world.

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