COVID-19 scare in Tasmania as quarantine escapee tests positive after entering from NSW

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A NSW man who arrived in Tasmania without a valid border pass and escaped hotel quarantine has tested positive to coronavirus.

The 31-year-old is the island state’s second active case and just the third recorded there this year.

The man flew into Hobart via Melbourne on Monday night and was ordered into hotel quarantine in the Tasmanian capital because he didn’t have a valid pass.

Premier Peter Gutwein said security became aware on Tuesday that the man was not in his hotel room.

He was found at a home in Hobart’s northern suburbs by police around 4.45pm on Tuesday and was taken to hospital for a COVID-19 test before being returned to hotel quarantine.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein says a man who escaped hotel quarantine tested positive to COVID-19. Credit: AAP

He returned a positive test on Wednesday morning, and is now likely to be moved to another government-run facility or hospital.

“It disappoints me greatly … that people blatantly ignore the rules and put other people at risk,” Gutwein said.

“There has never been a stronger reason for Tasmanians to stand up and get vaccinated.”

Contact tracers are working to determine the man’s movements and how many people he may have come in contact with.

Police are reviewing how the man was able to leave quarantine.

Jetstar planes on the tarmac at Sydney Airport (file image)
File image: A small number of people were on the Jetstar flight the man arrived on. Credit: AAP

State Public Health Director Mark Veitch said there will be “a number of settings where contact tracing will be focused”.

Dr Veitch said there were a small number of people on the man’s flight, JQ715.

Gutwein said the man would be fined more than $3000 for arriving without a border pass and escaping quarantine.

Tasmania’s borders have been closed to coronavirus-hit Victoria and NSW for some time.

Tasmania’s other virus case is a 15-year-old boy who tested positive while undergoing home quarantine in Launceston in the state’s north.

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