South Australia records new coronavirus case as state readies for return of international students
South Australia has confirmed a new case of coronavirus in a returned traveller, while preparing to welcome the country’s first group of international university students arriving amid the pandemic.
The state’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Mike Cusack, said the man returned from India on a repatriation flight on August 4.
He initially tested negative, before returning a positive test on day 12 of his quarantine.
The man’s diagnosis takes South Australia’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 461, with seven still active.
Dr Cusack said the man had mild symptoms, including a cough, and was staying in one of Adelaide’s “medi-hotels” with three members of his family who were identified as close contacts.
International students return in pilot program
It was announced on Sunday South Australia would become the first state in the country to welcome international students back to its universities, with about 300 set to land in Adelaide in September.
The students will undertake two weeks of hotel quarantine, paid for by their universities, before they start their studies.
Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the pilot was “very important” to the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a very important next step in terms of the recovery from the economic disaster of COVID,” he said.
“International education is a huge services export industry for Australia and South Australia.
“It underpins many thousands of jobs and it is important that we figure out how we can get international students back to Australia safely and appropriately.”
Senator Birmingham said bringing about 300 international students back to Adelaide would allow authorities to test how they would manage it on a larger scale across the country.
“It’s being done with the absolute utmost of safety requirements in place,” he said.
“All of the quarantine requirements, all of the testing requirements, all of those factors are built in with this having been approved at the highest level — state and federal, by health authorities — to make sure that everyone can have confidence this is not going to pose any risk in terms of COVID transmission.”
It was also announced that two additional Qatar flights would leave Adelaide for Doha weekly, exporting South Australian seafood.
Senator Birmingham said it was important to increase the amount of export flights so high-demand produce could get to international markets quickly.
Thebarton cluster contained
Health authorities on Saturday praised the South Australian Afghan community for its help in managing a cluster of cases linked to Thebarton Senior College.
On Friday evening, 94 close contacts of a woman who attended the college were cleared after coronavirus testing returned negative results.
“I was extremely pleased for the state, but also for all those people who had the tests done,” the state’s Chief Medical Officer Nicola Spurrier said.
“I like to see two full incubation periods before I say we’re home and hosed, but I think we’re in a very good position.”
Another new case was declared in the state on Friday. It was a man in his 30s who flew into Adelaide on a repatriation flight from India on August 1.
SA Health said the case posed no risk to the public because the man had been in hotel quarantine since his return to Australia.