Coles workers positive for virus


Two Coles workers have tested positive for coronavirus and a spokeswoman for the company said the store can remain open as people who pass through have an extremely low risk of transmission.

It comes as Australia records more than 4200 cases of coronavirus with 18 deaths.

As of Tuesday morning there were 1918 in NSW, 821 in Victoria, 689 in Queensland, 305 in South Australia, 355 in Western Australia, 66 in Tasmania, 78 in the Australian Capital Territory and 15 in the Northern Territory.

Globally, there have been nearly 740,000 cases of the disease recorded with more than 35,000 deaths. The US and Europe are now the epicentre of the outbreak, which began in mainland China in late December 2019.

Australian cases pass 4240

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia has stands at 4247 - the majority of which are in NSW and VIC.

As of Tuesday morning there were 1918 cases in NSW, 821 in Victoria, 689 in Queensland, 305 in South Australia, 355 in Western Australia, 66 in Tasmania, 78 in the Australian Capital Territory and 15 in the Northern Territory.

Eighteen people have now died - two in WA, two in Queensland, eight in NSW, four in Victoria, one in Tasmania and one in the ACT.

Some of the latest people to test positive include a staff member of the University of Western Australia (UWA) and two Coles workers from Victoria.

From today police will have the power to fine people in NSW and VIC who are breaching the rules on public gatherings which are limited to two people.

People will also have to stay home unless shopping for essentials, going to a medical appointment, exercising at a safe distance from others or working or studying if it is not possible to do from home.

Two Coles workers positive for coronavirus

Two workers at a Coles store in the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The pair are employed at a Coles store in Mulgrave.

The Health Department says the store can remain open, as people who pass through places where there has been a confirmed case have an extremely low risk of transmission, according to a Coles spokesman.

"Health authorities have not instructed Coles that it is necessary to close any stores, including in cases where team members or customers are diagnosed with COVID-19."

The store has undergone extensive cleaning and staff who have had contact with the infected workers have been instructed to self-isolate.

The company said it assisted the health department to trace the close contacts of the infected staff members.

The Department of Health defines close contact as face to face contact for at least 15 minutes.

It also applies to people being in the same closed space for at least two hours.

"The Victorian Department of Health has reconfirmed that Coles has undertaken all necessary safety measures in stores where positive cases have been identified," a Coles spokesperson said.


Morrison tips update on schools, childcare centres

An update on early childcare centres, schools and commercial and residential tenancies could be issued by the end of next week, the Prime Minister's office has said.

In a statement issued after the National Cabinet meeting on Monday night, Scott Morrison's office said previous advice on schools had not changed.

However the cabinet agreed it would "consider arrangements for early childhood and childcare facilities" at its next meeting on Friday 3 April.The group will also consider advice from treasurers on commercial and residential tenancies at the meeting.

On Monday the PM said "we will be living with this virus for at least six months, so social distancing measures to slow the spread of this virus must be sustainable for at least that long".

There are more than 4,200 confirmed cases in Australia and 18 people have died.

Of the newly reported cases, the majority are in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Experts believe the "epidemiology curve is beginning to flatten".

"But it is too early to determine whether such movements will be significant or sustained," the PM's office said.

The government's "biggest single concern" are cases where there are "no known local links".

Mr Morrison's office also provided several exemptions from quarantine for flight crew, maritime workers and vulnerable travellers. Air and sea workers were exempt "in recognition of their extensive training in infection prevention and control and use of personal protective equipment".

Meanwhile the cabinet agreed states and territories could make exceptions to the 14-day self quarantine rule in "exceptional circumstances" for vulnerable travellers.

Originally published as Two Coles workers positive for virus