Victoria records no new coronavirus cases as authorities contact Sydney travellers

Victoria has hit 17 days with no new coronavirus cases, but a hotel quarantine leak in Sydney has prompted warnings for residents returning from interstate.

Western Australia will also no longer require Victorians to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival after reaching the milestone of two weeks with no locally acquired cases, while Brisbane is also dealing with a hotel quarantine leak.

NSW’s 55-day streak of no COVID-19 cases came to an end on Sunday after a security guard who worked across two quarantine hotels tested positive for the virus.

The 47-year-old security guard worked at the Sofitel Wentworth in the Sydney CBD, the Mantra Sydney Central in Haymarket, and also at an office, according to NSW health authorities.

He had also already received the first of two Pfizer vaccine shots, and was due for his second in a week’s time.

Victoria’s Department of Health is now contacting anyone who has returned from Sydney since Saturday with anyone who has visited the sole listed exposure site in Sydney – Pancakes on the Rocks in Beverley Hills – to be tested and isolated for two weeks.

Meanwhile, a Brisbane quarantine hotel has been placed into lockdown as a precaution after a doctor confirmed to be infected with the virus treated a person who had been staying there.

No new guests will be allowed to enter the Hotel Grand Chancellor while health authorities are investigating a possible link between the patient who stayed at the hotel and another hotel guest housed on the same floor who is also infected.

No Victorian travel alerts are in place for Brisbane yet.

Professor Sharon Lewin, director at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, said she was not surprised by the fact the Sydney security guard had become infected despite receiving an initial dose of vaccine.

“It takes a bit of time for your immune system to kick in. You do get a pretty good response even after the first vaccine, by about 14 days. So by about that time now, you’re about 80 per cent protected from disease and about 50 per cent protected from infection,” she told ABC News Breakfast on Monday morning.

“A week after the second dose, that rate lifts to around 95 per cent. So it is not surprising that this can happen, and it’s really because your immune system is really just beginning to start after that first vaccine. It does not mean that the vaccine is not working at all.”

Australian Medical Association President Omar Khorshid said while he was “not terribly worried” by the NSW and Queensland hotel leaks, he questioned why lessons learned from problems in Victoria’s quarantine system hadn’t been implemented elsewhere.

“I am not terribly worried about the chances of a big outbreak in Sydney or Brisbane. We are lucky that each of these cases were picked up nice and early and the contact tracers are getting really good at their jobs,” he told Nine’s Today program on Monday morning.

“What is worrying is we don’t seem to have learned the lessons of the past and we’re still seeing breaches of quarantine in a hotel and a hospital. So the question is are we doing enough?”

After Victoria’s deadly second wave which was traced back to a leak in hotel quarantine, workers were banned from working across different sites and private security were replaced by Victoria Police officers.

There were 9696 COVID-19 tests processed in Victoria on Sunday.

  • With Michaela Whitbourn, Megan Gorrey and Cloe Read

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