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'Significant risk' of COVID leak at Adelaide medi-hotel

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An entire floor of travellers quarantining at a medi-hotel has been evacuated amid fears of a “significant risk” of a COVID-19 leak, as Premier Steven Marshall announces people aged below 50 will soon be eligible to get vaccinated.

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Eighteen travellers in quarantine were moved by bus from the Peppers medi-hotel in Waymouth St to the Pullman medi-hotel at Hindmarsh Square this morning, after a toddler and his mother returned a positive test this week.

Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier told reporters that the travellers, who were quarantining on the same floor as the mother and toddler, were moved because of a “significant risk” of transmission after the toddler spent longer than expected in a hallway at the hotel while being tested.

She said the door to the toddler’s room had been “open and shut a number of times”.

The delay in testing was related to the boy’s distress, identity checks and language barriers.

The boy was admitted to hospital yesterday but later discharged and taken to Adelaide’s Tom’s Court Hotel, where all people known to have the virus are isolated.

However, his mother has since tested positive to COVID-19 and has been moved to the Royal Adelaide Hospital with her son for assessment.

SA Health will today conduct two deep cleans of the floor before new travellers are moved in.

The people on the same floor as the pair will be required to start their quarantine period again.

Depending on where their rooms were located on the floor, some travellers might not need to repeat the full 14 days of quarantine.

Spurrier said two travellers were at day 13 of quarantine when they were told that they would have to spend another fortnight in a medi-hotel.

She said the decision to move the travellers followed a review of CCTV footage and advice from an engineer.

“This is obviously very precautionary and this is the worst-case scenario and that is because there is more investigation that needs to be had,” she said.

“A range of other investigations will be done today to make some more decisions around it.”

Spurrier said she was “most sympathetic and empathetic to those people where this has happened”, but she said for the interests of the public, SA Health had to make “difficult decisions”.

“These are things that are just not predictable,” she said.

The chief health officer said staff who worked at Peppers medi-hotel had undergone additional testing.

Meanwhile, Premier Steven Marshall said after this morning’s National Cabinet meeting that the Government would announce in the “coming days” that it would open up vaccinations to people aged 40 to 49.

He said that so far, over 9000 South Australians have received a COVID vaccination.

“We are likely to continue to look at expanding the cohorts that can present themselves,” he said.

“We hope to have an announcement in the coming days that we may even go down to start the 40 to 49-year-olds in South Australia very soon.”

Marshall said the number of Pfizer doses being sent to Australia next month were “at or beyond the forward projections”.

“That supply chain is running very, very well at the moment (and) we don’t have any fears about running out of vaccines at the moment whatsoever,” he said.

Victoria today recorded four new locally acquired virus cases, taking the state’s outbreak to 65.

Genomic sequencing from two cases in a West Melbourne family has revealed they are infected with the Delta variant, which Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says has become the predominant variant in India.

It comes after yesterday’s confirmation that two earlier cases in the outbreak had been ruled false positives.

The two suspected “fleeting” transmission cases of coronavirus had been part of the justification for Melbourne’s lockdown extension.

– with AAP

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