PERTH, Australia — Hotel quarantine guests in Western Australia could soon be required to undergo a fourth Covid-19 test after a scare involving a maritime worker.
The returned overseas traveler has been placed back into quarantine after producing a positive test result while in the community at the weekend.
Authorities are confident the man, who had been staying at Perth’s Pan Pacific Hotel, is shedding viral particles and no longer infectious.
It emerged on June 7 he had not been required to undertake a day 13 pre-clearance test.
Last month, the state government announced that all returned travelers would be tested on days one, five, and 13 during their 14-day hotel quarantine stay.
“Previously, all cases were cleared of their infection based on the national guidelines, which does not always involve a test before completing their isolation,” Western Australia Health said in a statement on June 7.
“A pre-clearance test will now be performed on all cases.”
Premier Mark McGowan said he had only learned at the weekend that the day 13 tests were not being rolled out for all guests.
“That was a surprise to me,” McGowan said.
“I requested that that happen, and that is now happening.”
Western Australia could soon go a step further and require all returned overseas travelers to undergo a fourth test on day 17 as a further precaution.
“That’s an analysis we’re currently undertaking,” McGowan said.
The maritime worker had been required by his employer to get tested upon leaving quarantine before boarding a vessel.
After completing his 14-day quarantine period on June 4, he stayed at the Ibis hotel in Perth, ate at a restaurant, and visited an Optus store and a pharmacy.
He was put back into hotel quarantine after returning a positive PCR test on the morning of June 5.
The man had been vaccinated and wore a face mask while he was out in the community. He did not have a variant of concern and has remained asymptomatic.
“The solid medical advice is that he is a very, very low risk of being a spreader of the virus,” McGowan said.
Western Australia Health has identified 33 casual contacts who have been asked to get tested.
The man had initially been tested positive on May 21 after arriving at the Pan Pacific from Colombia via the United States.
He is the same man — identified by Western Australia Health as Case 1017 — who infected a guest in an adjoining room at the hotel last month.
Western Australia Health is yet to determine how the virus spread between the two rooms.
The state government will on June 8 unveil details of its vaccine rollout for over-40s and allow them to book appointments for the first time.
Almost half a million doses have been administered in Western Australia, with about three percent of adults fully vaccinated.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ojaswin Kathuria)
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