Covid-19 Tasmania: Scare for state with no cases after positive traveller goes missing from hotel quarantine

Emily CosenzaNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

A new Covid-19 scare has been sparked in Tasmania after an infected NSW man went missing from his Hobart medi-hotel.

Premier Peter Gutwein announced the breach on Wednesday afternoon, saying the 31-year-old man had returned a positive result after he was found.

The man arrived into the state via Melbourne on Monday evening despite his cross-border approval being refused and was put into isolation at the Travelodge Hotel in Hobart.

However, when staff conducted a welfare check on Tuesday afternoon the man wasn't in his room.

Tasmania police began searching for the domestic traveller who was later found at about 4.45pm at an address in Hobart’s outer northern suburbs.

Travelodge for Sale
Camera IconA NSW man who was denied entry to Tasmania went missing from The Travelodge in Hobart and later tested positive to Covid-19. Sam Rosewarne Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Gutwein said the man was returned to hotel quarantine and additional security was allocated to him.

“It disappoints me greatly that when the vast majority of Tasmanians do the right thing day-in and day-out, people will blatantly ignore the rules and put others at risk,” he said.

“We've had some 13,400 people through our hotel quarantine system and there have been about three breaches.”

The man will be slapped with two fines, totalling more than $3000; one for breaching hotel quarantine and the other for trying to enter the state without the necessary approvals.

Covid update
Camera IconPremier Peter Gutwein said he was ‘disappointed” that the man ‘blatantly ignored the rules and put others at risk’. Chris Kidd Credit: News Corp Australia

Director of Public Health Mark Veitch said the man was tested twice because his first swab taken on Tuesday night didn’t come back with a definitive result.

He said the second test proved he was positive.

As a result, contact tracers are working to determine public exposure sites.

The Jetstar flight JQ 715 from Melbourne to Hobart that landed at about 8.30pm on Monday night will be listed, but Dr Veitch said it was likely those on-board the aircraft would already be in isolation because of border restrictions.

“We’re assessing the movements of this person at the airport,” he said.

“We're in the process of identifying the contact this person had in suburban Hobart after they left quarantine and those people will be quarantined and tested.”

He said it was too early to say how many close contacts there were, but it was being investigated by authorities.

Originally published as Covid-19 Tasmania: Scare for state with no cases after positive traveller goes missing from hotel quarantine

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