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Second test confirms two active COVID-19 cases in Canberra hotel quarantine

ACT Health confirmed there are two active COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine in Canberra today, Thursday 4 March.

Health staff retested two men, one in his 40s and a teenager, who returned ‘weak positive’ COVID-19 test results yesterday, which authorities previously believed could be historical, overseas-acquired infections.

Today’s stronger test results proved both men, who are not related to each other, are infected, and indicated they may have caught the virus in transit.

Further testing over the next 48 hours will determine whether either of the new cases carry a variant strain of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, an ACT Health spokesperson said both men were being moved to a separate area of the hotel for further care and support, and for their symptoms to be closely monitored.

“We’ve been informed that these individuals tested negative before travelling to Singapore, so it is likely they acquired the virus while in transit from overseas to the ACT,” the spokesperson said.

“The individuals are not known to have met with anyone who was unwell or with COVID-19 in the days before travelling. 

“Investigations are continuing to identify the source of these cases.”

ACT Health is taking “all required public health action”, and contact tracers are working to identify a “potentially small group of close contacts, if any, of the two active cases”.

The hub flight which arrived in Canberra on Monday carried 177 passengers from countries in Asia and Europe, including Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Portugal.

Of those passengers, the majority entered hotel quarantine in the ACT and a small group continued to Sydney where they entered hotel quarantine managed by NSW authorities.

ACT Health is in communication with NSW Health and Singapore Airlines to support contact tracing efforts.

The ACT Health spokesperson said they will now establish a plan for additional testing of hotel quarantine guests, to identify any more cases early.

“Any returned traveller who experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 at any point during the 14-day quarantine period will also be tested.”

The ACT Government has a dedicated COVID-19 website; covid19.act.gov.au

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