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Fresh focus on northern border after New Guinea arrival tests positive


Queensland has reported one new case of coronavirus involving a man who had recently returned from Papua New Guinea, prompting the state to step up monitoring of its northern border.

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The man, aged in his 40s, had been in hotel quarantine and tested positive on the seventh day of his 14-day isolation period.

“That means that he hasn’t been in contact with anyone out in the community,” Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said.

“We know there are increasing numbers of cases in Papua New Guinea, so we’re working very closely with Australia Border Force to manage our northern border with Papua New Guinea.”

PNG has so far reported 347 cases and three deaths.

Queensland has now made it through 30 days without a case of community transmission of the deadly infection.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said about 10,000 people had presented for testing in the past 24 hours.

Victoria has recorded 12 more deaths as new coronavirus cases continue to fall.

The deaths take the state’s toll from the virus to 363 and the national toll to 450.

But the new Victorian cases have dropped again to 216, the lowest number since July 13.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says health authorities have identified seven new coronavirus infections in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.

Two are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said 19,414 people were tested in the reporting period.

Meanwhile, a Sunshine Coast aged care home is awaiting a test result for a resident with a suspicious illness after three other elderly people tested negative earlier this week.

Immanuel Gardens in Buderim, operated by Lutheran Services, closed a part of its facility to visitors on Monday after four residents developed respiratory symptoms.

Three residents returned a negative result and the fourth is waiting to be cleared.

CEO Nick Ryan said the negative results were a relief and everyone would be contacted as soon as the result was known.

“We remain vigilant and are taking all precautions to keep our people safe,” he said in a statement.

“We are monitoring the health of our residents closely and reinforce public health direction to get tested for COVID-19, no matter how mild the symptoms.”

A section of the complex known as The Terrace is shut, but residents in The View area can still receive visitors.

Queensland authorities are relatively confident the fourth person will be cleared because they hadn’t developed further symptoms.

There are just eight active cases in the state.

The state on Tuesday announced it had stockpiled about 120 million pieces of personal protective equipment equating to 900 days worth of surgical masks, 200 days worth of surgical gowns and 300 days worth of gloves.

Most of the stock has come from overseas.


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