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Wednesday 21st April 2021

Apr 21st 2021

Wednesday 21st April 2021

Worker tests positive for COVID-19 at Auckland airport. 

A day after quarantine free trans-Tasman travel restarted between New Zealand and Australia a fully vaccinated cleaner has tested positive for COVID-19 at Auckland airport.

Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt has been briefed on the case by Australia’s top health officials and has complete confidence that the case can be contained by New Zealand as they have highly developed containment systems, like Australia.

He said the fact that the worker has been vaccinated will play into how the case is assessed and the transmission capability.

The worker, who is a cleaner who boards aircraft to clean after arriving from countries considered COVID-19 ‘red zones’, was routinely tested on April 12 and April 19 and returned a positive result on the second test.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that health ministers and officials from both countries are ‘directly communicating’ about the new case although she had not yet spoken to Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

‘When we opened, on both sides, we of course knew that we would continue to have cases connected to our border,’ she said.

‘When we announced the date for opening the trans-Tasman bubble, Queensland was dealing with cases.

‘We accept that it’s going to be part of our journey together. I think Australia accepts that and, for both sides, we’re always looking for a clear connection to the border. In this case, there is.’

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is optimistic this case won’t see the bubble burst.

‘I would like to think that a case or two, which is manageable, should not impede any of our progress that we’re making in opening up,’ she said on Tuesday. ‘I’m certainly the first to argue that a managed outbreak should be dealt with and life moves on.’

A spokeswoman for Qantas has confirmed that operations and flights were continuing across the Tasman.

Read the original article on The Age website.

Residents assured of pool repair safety by ACT Government

The ACT Government has made assurances that debris and dust created by repairs to the 50-metre pool at the Gungahlin Leisure Centre will not impact residents.

Over $5000 worth of repairs were completed on faulty tiles when the pool was closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19. It was reported just months later that all of the pool tiles, levelling screeds and coatings needed to be removed and repaired.

Concerns regarding workers being exposed to silica dust and silica dust contamination were raised in 2019 when maintenance work was undertaken at the pool, and WorkSafe ACT inspectors were notified. According to SafeWork Australia, silica dust exposure can result in chronic bronchitis, emphysema, silicosis, lung cancer, kidney damage and scleroderma.

Yvette Berry, Minister for Sports and Recreation, has been criticised by Liberal MLA for the Gungahlin-based electorate of Yerrabi, Leanne Castley, who only found out about these inspections via a freedom of information request this week.

Although it was reported that silica dust was not present, it was revealed that on the northern wall of the pool around 420 ‘drummy tiles’ were identified from a tap test on the pool's floor. Drummy tiles emit a drum-like sound when struck by a sounding tool.

Ms Berry denied a lack of transparency and said she wasn’t able to release details about the pools repair work on advice from the government solicitor as they are in negotiations with the pool’s builder.

The company contracted to do the repairs, is working on a hazardous materials management plan and will be responsible for safety on the site. An ACT Government spokesperson has advised the plan will include dust suppression activities and will consider using barriers to block dust between construction and other pools, using airflow to direct dust away from the public.

Read the original article on the RIOTACT website.

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