Did you ride the COVID-19 bus?

Genevieve Jacobs and Ian Bushnell 25 March 2020 40

ACT Health is attempting to trace contacts for a bus passenger on 17 March. Photo: File.

ACT Health is attempting to trace suburban bus passengers who may have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 last week and is asking for public assistance.

Seven new cases of coronavirus have been announced in the Territory this afternoon. The new cases include two males and five females, aged between 21 and 75.

ACT Health says that the seven new cases are all linked to overseas travel and contact tracing is taking place. Flight details will be uploaded to the ACT Health website.

But health officials are also trying to trace passengers on a bus last Tuesday when a previously confirmed case caught the number 31 bus from Dickson Interchange to Kaleen.

When asked whether this was the Lyneham High student who tested positive, Acting Director Communicable Disease Control Section of ACT Health Dr Vanessa Johnston said she could not comment on individual cases but number 31 left Dickson about 3:50 pm on Tuesday, 17 March. This bus was scheduled to leave Dickson interchange at 3:33 pm but was running late and departed at 3:50 pm.

Passengers who were on this bus should self-quarantine until 31 March and contact the Communicable Disease Control Section of ACT Health on 5124 9213 for more information.

Dr Johnston said ACT Health was advised of the confirmed case’s bus travel yesterday afternoon.

She said there was still no evidence of community transmission in the ACT.

There have been 2780 negative COVID-19 tests in the ACT to date. There are currently three COVID-19 patients in a stable condition in Canberra hospitals. The rest are isolating at home with ACT Health support.

At least one of them is a passenger from another cruise ship other than the Ruby Princess.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the ACT would not be stopping travellers from overseas returning to the ACT.

“That’s part of our responsibility, to ensure our residents and citizens who are part of our community can can come home if they’ve been overseas,” she said.

“We would not be requiring people to stay in Sydney or Melbourne, whatever the port of arrival is, and not be able to come home to Canberra.

“And we certainly wouldn’t be doing that just for the reason that we don’t want to have someone in the ACT in self-quarantine who comes back.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said the number of close contacts of those cases had been very small.

The Minister also flagged cuts to elective surgeries to free up hospital capacity along the lines being announced elsewhere.

“Around the country, jurisdictions have moved to reduce the number of category 2 and 3 elective surgeries in order to create capacity within their hospital systems, but also to enable staff to prepare for what could be a very significant impact if we start to see widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in Australia.

“We are moving in that direction,” she said, saying patients could expect to be contacted in coming days.

What's Your Opinion?

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40 Responses to Did you ride the COVID-19 bus?
Kate KL Kate KL 12:44 pm 25 Mar 20

The young ones think they are invincible if contracted the disease they wouldn't die. My flatmate who had sore throat and cough, went to enjoy a birthday celebration in Wollongong. She works as a pharmacist.

Won't not follow the rules There is no one who can do the policing.

Skye MK Skye MK 11:19 am 25 Mar 20

Rodrigo you bought your scooter at the perfect time!

Lionel George Lionel George 7:53 am 25 Mar 20

People are so stupid. We were told to self isolate. If we don't have to go to work stay at and indoors. The longer we don't do this the longer it goes on.

Michael Babb Michael Babb 3:02 pm 24 Mar 20

Given how long this virus stays on surfaces for, they need to detail every route after that the bus was used for.

Transport Canberra

    Jess Dee Jess Dee 8:56 pm 24 Mar 20

    Michael Babb totally agree, and was the bus or are the buses being regularly cleaned and sanitised?!?

Louise Anne Louise Anne 2:44 pm 24 Mar 20

I hope Health are including driver assessments too. Such high risk - no protection for drivers.

Sue Skinner Sue Skinner 2:13 pm 24 Mar 20

Plenty of people arriving home from overseas who have gone shopping for groceries. Not self isolating. Known this to have happened in Sutton area.

    Elspeth Shannon Rollason Elspeth Shannon Rollason 2:34 pm 24 Mar 20

    Sue Skinner you can report them

    Kirsty Noad Kirsty Noad 3:34 pm 24 Mar 20

    Sue Skinner report them

    Coralee Flood Coralee Flood 7:52 am 27 Mar 20

    Sue Skinner they could have easily asked family or friends to shop for them and leave on the front step.

Harry Sotiropoulos Harry Sotiropoulos 2:10 pm 24 Mar 20

Good to see self isolation working.

Sherree Bush Sherree Bush 2:07 pm 24 Mar 20

It was bound to happen - can’t believe public transport is still operating!

    Jessica Hitchens Jessica Hitchens 3:59 pm 24 Mar 20

    Sherree Bush people who work in essential services still need to get to/from work 🤦‍♀️

    Sherree Bush Sherree Bush 4:00 pm 24 Mar 20

    Yep - it’s called walk, ride, drive or car pool

    Lyn Christie Lyn Christie 4:46 pm 24 Mar 20

    Sherree Bush guess you drive

    Harry Walsh Harry Walsh 9:04 pm 24 Mar 20

    Jessica Hitchens real mature

    Jessica Hitchens Jessica Hitchens 9:05 pm 24 Mar 20

    Sherree Bush that's not an option for everyone. Check your privilege.

Andrew Hope Andrew Hope 1:59 pm 24 Mar 20

Just stay isolated if you have come back from travel. It really isn’t a hard concept.

Emily Kumar Emily Kumar 1:47 pm 24 Mar 20

Nitish Kumar in Kaleen 👌

Michael Blythe Michael Blythe 1:46 pm 24 Mar 20

Any new arrivals from overseas, regardless of their citizenship status, should be placed straight on a bus and straight to state run compulsory 14 day quarantine. Problem solved!

    Primrose Balneg Balmaceda Alagao Primrose Balneg Balmaceda Alagao 2:39 pm 24 Mar 20

    Michael Blythe that is exactly what we need, why is the government not listening at all. A quarantine centre for all new arrivals, not give the people the option to self isolate because they are not going to do it😡

Aj Carroll Aj Carroll 1:42 pm 24 Mar 20

So this person has travelled overseas and has come home and NOT self isolated and then gone out and about on public transportation risking other people I hope they are in trouble for these actions 🤬

    Aj Carroll Aj Carroll 1:43 pm 24 Mar 20

    Kellie found an article

    Gareth Rowlands Gareth Rowlands 2:11 pm 24 Mar 20

    Not necessarily, they could have been in contact with someone else who had been overseas and contracted it.

    Aj Carroll Aj Carroll 2:42 pm 24 Mar 20

    Gareth yes but aren’t all people returning required to self isolate for 14 days- the article states these cases are all linked to overseas travel 🤷🏼‍♀️

    Rae Horsfield Rae Horsfield 12:16 am 25 Mar 20

    Except for those people off the cruise ship. Told they were free to go and then wandered around for four days infecting everyone. It is entirely possible that whoever was on the bus had dinner with someone who’d been to a wedding with someone who met up for coffee with someone who was fresh off the cruise ship and later tested positive. But no one was sick at the time they passed the virus on and/or didn’t know they had been in close contact with a confirmed case until later.

    Aj Carroll Aj Carroll 12:25 am 25 Mar 20

    Even if it was a low risk cruise- and ppl where told they could leave ( even if there was the slightest chance 1 person had it ) ppl still should be following recommendations to self isolate,it has been know for weeks now how highly contagious this virus is yet it seems a lot of people just have this meh attitude that they won’t get it or if they do it’s all good not taking into consideration the many vulnerable people in our communities- I personally think if people have chosen to travel knowing this pandemic is floating around then they should take responsibility and self isolate (my opinion) I know everyone is entitled to one and that is mine.

Alex Brown Alex Brown 1:37 pm 24 Mar 20

Michael, would explain all the bus precautions now in place (no money, no contact with driver)

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