Coronavirus exposure on two Geelong trains

By Luke Voogt

Passengers on two Geelong-Melbourne trains could have come in contact with the coronavirus, the Department of Health and Human Services has warned.

The department listed the train departing Southern Cross for Geelong about 5.40pm last Thursday and the service departing Geelong for Southern Cross last Monday about 5.40pm as exposure sites.

The department warned commuters on the Monday (March 2) and Thursday (March 5) trains to be vigilant for symptoms up until March 16 and 19 for each service respectively.

The announcement comes as the department confirmed six new coronavirus cases yesterday – bringing the total in Victoria to 27.

The new cases included six men aged 30 to 70, with all recovering at home in isolation, according to the department.

Earlier this week the department announced a Waurn Ponds supermarket worker was the first Geelong local to contract the disease.

The woman in her 20s acquired the virus in the US and became unwell on February 29 shortly after returning to Melbourne that day, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The woman worked two shifts at Coles Waurn Ponds last Friday and Saturday before being diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Contact tracing by the department deemed the supermarket a public exposure site between 8.45am and 5pm last Friday (March 6) and 1pm and 6pm last Saturday (March 7).

“People who visited Coles Waurn Ponds during this time should be aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19,” the spokesperson said on Wednesday.

“If they feel unwell, they should tell their doctor they have visited this site. However, the risk of transmission for customers is very low.”

Costumers and staff at the supermarket last Friday and last Saturday should watch for symptoms up until March 20 and 21 respectively, according to the department’s website.

The department was contacting the woman’s close contacts who would self-isolate for 14 days, the spokesperson said.

The woman had isolated herself at home since March 7 when she received notification that she had been potentially exposed to COVID-19 on her flight, Coles said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Coles immediately performed an extensive clean of the supermarket in line with recommendations from the [department] and will conduct further cleaning overnight as an additional precautionary measure.”

Coles said it had instructed staff who came into close contact with the woman to self-isolate and seek medical treatment if they noticed any symptoms.

She and another man in his 50s became the 20th and 21st Victorians respectively to be diagnosed with the disease this week after returning on the same flight.

The department was continuing to contact passengers on flights UA60 and QF94, its spokesperson said.

The World Health Organization reported 126,240 global cases of coronavirus at 4.30pm, with 4638 deaths, a mortality rate of roughly 3.7 per cent.

About 68,000 people had recovered from the disease so far, according to the World Health Organization.

For information: phone DHHS on 1800 675 398 or visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

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