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25 Dec, 2021 08:18

Unvaxxed backpacker prompts stay-at-home orders during holidays

Unvaxxed backpacker prompts stay-at-home orders during holidays

Hundreds of Australians were told to spend the rest of the Christmas season and New Year’s in quarantine after an unvaccinated French backpacker spread Covid-19 across state lines.

Around 400 people who attended an event at the Perth Mess Hall in the suburb, Northbridge on Sunday must be tested and self-isolate for two weeks, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said at a news conference on Christmas Eve. This means that the people in question have to quarantine themselves until January 3.

The announcement came after five locally transmitted cases were recorded in the state on Friday, and two more on Saturday.

“It may be Omicron, but we suspect it’s Delta,” McGowan said, speaking about the variants of the coronavirus. 

The cluster of infections was traced to a 25-year-old unvaccinated French backpacker, dubbed ‘Case 1133’ by officials. The man went to Australia in January 2020 before the pandemic hit the country.

On December 12, the backpacker slipped into Perth from Queensland, just one hour before interstate border restrictions were tightened. He felt sick on Sunday, but was not tested until Wednesday. The infection was confirmed on Thursday.  

During his stay in Western Australia, the Frenchman visited several nightclubs and supermarkets, as well as a museum, 7NEWS reported.

Australia has been enforcing extremely strict lockdowns and quarantine rules as part of its zero-Covid strategy. The authorities allowed the entry of some vaccinated foreigners into the country this month, ending a nearly two-year ban on foreign arrivals.