The ACT may soon have its first cases of COVID-19, or coronavirus, after an Australian Defence Force (ADF) member who travelled to Canberra by plane returned a positive result for the virus.
The man may have been contagious when travelling on two flights between Canberra and Sydney on 28 February when he flew in for a meeting at Defence headquarters in Russell.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said that the man travelled to and from the airport in a private car, which minimised potential exposure to the public.
“We have the list of contacts who attended that business meeting and we will be working with NSW Health to ensure that all those contacts are identified and contacted as soon as possible,” she said.
“At this point in time, we do not believe that there are any other at-risk exposures or that the public had any other opportunities to be exposed in Canberra.”
ACT Health is asking anyone seated in rows 2-6 on the 6:45 am Sydney to Canberra flight QF1509, or rows 3-7 on the 2:35 pm Canberra to Sydney flight VA651 to self-quarantine and call Communicable Disease Control on 5124 9213.
Call your GP for assessment and testing if you develop any symptoms of #COVID19. The ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, confirms there are currently zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the ACT (8 March 2020). pic.twitter.com/jk2kI6EKaT
— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) March 7, 2020
“Anyone else travelling on these flights in other rows are not considered to be close contacts and should monitor their health until 13 March,” ACT Health said.
The ACT has returned 270 negative results for the virus and has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of this morning (8 March).
The man is one of two members of the ADF who have tested positive for the virus. Dr Coleman clarified that only one of these members had visited Canberra for the 28 February meeting.
The two new cases have brought Australia’s total to 70.
The positive result came in last night (7 March).
Signs and symptoms to look out for include fever, flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat or headaches, or difficulty breathing.
More information about COVID-19 is available on the ACT Health website here.