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TV news crew in isolation after interviewing positive virus case

A TV news crew has been forced to isolate after speaking to a young woman at Adelaide Airport who tested positive to COVID-19 within 24 hours of her arrival. The Nine News crew interviewed the woman when she flew in from Melbourne on Monday.South Australia’s chief public health officer on Wednesday said they had identified…

A TV news crew has been forced to isolate after speaking to a young woman at Adelaide Airport who tested positive to COVID-19 within 24 hours of her arrival.

The Nine News crew interviewed the woman when she flew in from Melbourne on Monday.

South Australia’s chief public health officer on Wednesday said they had identified two close contacts who were sitting near the woman on Jetstar flight JQ 776 when it arrived from Victoria on November 9.

“There are also two, what we are calling casual contacts, who are in home quarantine,” Professor Nicola Spurrier said.

Nine News director Jeremy Pudney told The Advertiser a reporter and camera operator are in quarantine “after briefly interviewing, by chance, a person who has since tested positive for COVID-19”.

“At the time, our team members were conducting interviews for a story on travel restrictions, in a public area and at a safe distance,” he said.

“We have been assured by SA Health there is no broader risk to other Nine employees and we are supporting our team members until they’re given the all-clear to leave quarantine.”

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The positive case is a woman, aged in her 20s, who has been working in the aged care sector in Victoria.

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services said she has not worked in aged care since mid-October.

Prof Spurrier said the woman tested positive for COVID-19 three months ago but was cleared of the virus.

“We do know that she had a number of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests done in Victoria and in fact was positive for COVID-19 back in August,” she said.

“She was cleared of the virus and therefore we have quite a lot of information from our Victorian counterparts as to all of that testing.

“This could represent shedding and we have seen that in the past.

“Because we are in a particular situation in South Australia with so few cases, we are really taking an abundance of caution in this instance and we are calling this an infectious case.”

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The travel restrictions in South Australia changed on October 24, allowing South Australian residents to return from Victoria and undertake two weeks of quarantine.

Prof Spurrier said they are tested within 24 hours of arrival.

“So this person did have that test done and we received a positive result yesterday,” she said.

“Importantly, she’s not symptomatic and also she’s in a medi-hotel.

“But what we are trying to do is sort out whether this is an old infection or whether this represents a new infection.”

She said the woman, who wore a mask on the plane, had done “absolutely the right thing” in regards to quarantine and testing and she was not concerned from a public health perspective.

Victoria’s DHHS said it is working closely with South Australian health authorities to investigation the case identified during the state’s “entry screening processes”.

“The case is an aged care worker who previously tested positive in Victoria in early August and isolated for the full period required,” it said in a statement.

“They recovered and were cleared of the virus later that month. The case has not worked in aged care since mid-October.

“The case is likely to represent intermittent shedding following a previous infection but through an abundance of caution, and while further investigations are underway, the public health response across the two jurisdictions will align.”

Anyone who visited Melbourne Central on November 8 between 2pm and 5pm, or were at Terminal 4 at Melbourne Airport on November 9 between 12pm and 1pm, is asked “to be alert to even the mildest of symptoms and seek immediate testing if they become unwell”, the DHHS said.

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