More than 250 passengers onboard a flight from Perth to Melbourne have been forced to isolate after a man on the plane tested positive to COVID-19.
Passengers on Qantas flight QF778 on Wednesday will be required to isolate for 14 days, the flight being marked as a Tier 1 exposure site by Victoria’s Department of Health.
“If you were on this flight, you must isolate, get tested and remain isolated for 14 days – unless otherwise formally advised by the Department of Health,” a health department statement read.
“The Department is contacting over 250 individuals on this flight using information obtained from comprehensive flight manifest data, and border permits.
“While the individual returned directly to his home in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, he did pass through the airport.”
Melbourne Airport Terminal One has been listed as a Tier 2 site, meaning all people who passed through the area between 6.30-7.30pm on Wednesday must get a COVID-19 test.
The Melbourne man’s positive case brings Victoria’s run of 55 days of zero community transmission to an end.
He was declared a close contact after quarantining in a room at the Mercure Hotel adjacent to a positive case.
“It would appear that with a mask, he went straight to the airport and was contacted as he was coming off the plane as a primary close contact,” Health Minister Martin Foley said.
“He was picked up at the airport by his spouse and returned directly home to his residential location in the eastern suburbs where he lives with three household contacts, his spouse and two children.”
It is understood the man isolated separately from his family upon returning home.
He checked in to the Holiday Inn on Flinders Street yesterday, a Melbourne ‘health hotel’ for COVID-19 international arrivals, to isolate away from his family.
The man, who is asymptomatic, then returned a positive test result at 2am today.
“The public health process of interviewing, testing, following up potential exposure sites is now well underway,” Mr Foley said.
His family will be required to isolate for the next 14 days. A friend of the children has also been deemed as a close contact.
Mr Foley assured Victorians the man had done “all of the right things”.
“(He) got his gear, went straight home, sat in the back seat, put his mask on all the way home and stayed separate from the rest of the members of his family,” he said.
“He’s cooperating with our public health team.”
Victoria’s Department of Health is using CCTV to track the man’s movements through the airport to see if he came into contact with anyone.
Mr Foley said the man’s case counted as a local infection as he tested positive in Victoria, despite the virus being acquired interstate.
“As the person was positively tested in Melbourne, this brings an end to our run of … community-free transmission,” he said.