Panic in WA as truckie tests positive for Covid as AFL final looms

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A truck driver has tested positive for Covid in NSW after arriving in Perth via South Australia, just days before the city is set to host the long-awaited AFL Grand Final.

The driver arrived in Western Australia on September 16 after returning a negative result in NSW on September 13. 

He and his colleague made stops in Coolgardie, Southern Cross and Northam before they arrived in Kewdale, Perth.

On September 19, the driver was tested again upon his return to NSW with WA authorities being told on Wednesday morning he had tested positive for Covid.

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Health Minister Roger Cook remarked that the drivers had minimal contact with others during their time in WA and it is understood they slept in their truck.  

They were in the state for less than 48 hours, leaving at 12:30am on September 18. 

SA TIER 1 EXPOSURE SITES 

Men’s Shower Block (Caltex Penong) on Eyre Highway, Penong SA on Wednesday September 15 between 9:30pm – 11:20pm 

Caltex Penong on Eyre Highway, Penong SA on Saturday September 18 between 3:30am – 5:30am

Men’s Shower Block (Caltex Penong) on Eyre Highway, Penong SA on Saturday September 18 between 3:30am – 5:30am

Virgin Flight VA406 Sydney to Adelaide on Friday September 10 between 7:26am – 9:20am    

The driver and his colleague also made stops in South Australia, with a shower block and Caltex in Penong on the Eyre Highway being named tier 1 exposure sites, with more being added to the SA Covid website as the situation unfolds.

Chief Public Health Officer for SA Professor Nicola Spurrier said in Wednesday afternoon’s conference they are considering the truck driver infectious from September 15 when he entered the state. 

She remarked that the driver only reported symptoms on the 18th during the return trip but put it down to fatigue due to the long trip and only got tested when they arrived back in NSW. 

Due to the investigation being ongoing, the numbers of people in quarantine have not been collated but Professor Spurrier is urging everyone even with the mildest of symptoms to get tested and for communities to get vaccinated. 


Video: Victoria to receive ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Moderna doses (Sky News Australia)

She commented that she is ‘very concerned’ about the threat to public health and that ‘now is the time’ for residents of SA to come forward and get their vaccinations.

‘There’s really no excuse,’ she remarked in regards to the three vaccinations available to eligible adults. 

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The second driver so far has tested negative and the infected driver has received one dose of Pfizer on August 30.

The drivers had both received a negative Covid test result in NSW in the days before their arrival on September 14 which allowed them access into SA and did not require them to undergo rapid antigen testing upon their arrival at the WA border.

This is despite the WA government’s announcement earlier in the month that all truck drivers coming from interstate would undergo rapid antigen testing before they cross the border into WA. 

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WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said that at the current point in time, there were no anticipated changes to the AFL grand final set to be held in Perth’s Optus Stadium on Saturday between the Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs.  

‘There is no change that has been planned in respect of the conduct of the game or indeed in any other conditions,’ he said.

He remarked that the game is still set to go ‘ahead as planned’ in front of a crowd of 60,000 people. 

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Mr Cook said that it was encouraging that the other driver had not tested positive and said that the biggest cause for concern would be any mystery cases being detected in the community. However, he described the threat to public health as ‘low risk.’

He commented he was ‘very confident’ the premiership decider match would go ahead as planned.     

‘I am confident … particularly given the other driver was negative and we understand their movements and the short time they were in WA, I am very confident,’ he remarked.

While WA authorities are confident due to the short period of time the drivers were in the state, SA is much more concerned about the risk to public health.

Professor Spurrier remarked ‘it is inevitable’ that Covid will appear in the community and the state needs to prepare for a possible outbreak by residents coming forward to get tested and vaccinated. 

South Australia is currently at Level 1 restrictions throughout the state. 

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