In an exclusive interview conducted from his bed in ICU with The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, the 38-year-old said he declared his nebuliser to staff who also offered to source more Ventolin for the device.

The man had not tested positive to coronavirus when he used the nebuliser at the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport.

A view of the Holiday Inn Hotel in Melbourne. (Getty)

“If I was told that I couldn’t use it, I never would have used it,” he said.

“The way it has all come out in the news and through the government has made it sound like I was using it illegally or that I have snuck it in or something like that. It’s been very distressing.

“You are left feeling like a criminal or that you’ve done the wrong thing. That has been the hardest thing in all this.”

Melbourne wakes to empty streets as lockdown begins. (9News)

When asked about the patient during today’s COVID-19 update, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews insisted he would not comment on the patient directly and deferred questions to the state’s hotel quarantine body.

However, Victoria’s Quarantine Boss Emma Cassar later held a press conference, where she apologised to the man.

She admitted she had talked about the case but denied mentioning any “specifics”.

She claimed the man had never told them he had the device despite people being asked at the airport as they land and at the initial health check at the hotel.

“I’m deeply sorry for his treatment, no-one wanted this to happen,” she said.

“We have never accused him of doing the wrong thing, he hasn’t done the wrong thing. I expect he had no understanding,” she said

Emma Cassar
Victorian Hotel Quarantine boss, Emma Cassar (Nine)

She said the use of the nebuliser in the hotel when it was not allowed, was not “deliberate” or “malicious” and said they were first notified of its use by the hospital where the man was being treated, despite him saying otherwise.

She said they’re looking at if the rules are made clear enough, and called what had happened a “really regrettable incident.”

“Had we known about this we would have taken steps earlier,” she said.

A woman cycles along a street in Melbourne, Australia. (Getty)

Nebulisers are used to convert a liquid solution of a drug, used to treat respiratory illnesses, into a fine spray or vapour which is then breathed in.

It is thought the use of the device by the patient caused fine aerosolised particles carrying coronavirus to be suspended in the air and spread throughout the hotel.

Victoria is now under stage four restrictions after the virus spread from the hotel. (Getty)

There are now 14 confirmed cases linked with the Holiday Inn cluster, eight of which have tested positive to the highly infectious UK virus strain.

The cluster has triggered a five-day snap lockdown across Victoria with authorities concerned the virus coronavirus may have spread throughout the community.

The entire state is now under stage-four restrictions and must only leave their home for essential reasons.

This content first appear on 9news

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