SA Health is investigating six Qantas baggage handlers who have tested for coronavirus.
SA Health's Chief Public Health Officer Dr Nicola Spurrier told reporters there are six baggage handlers at Adelaide Airport who have returned positive test results.
She’s described it as a “serious situation” and the department has been in touch with Qantas about “risk mitigation”.
“There’s going to be a requirement for a significant number of staff to go into quarantine because of this,” Dr Spurrier said.
“There’s approximately 100 other staff who use that area and my team is working through doing all that normal public health work to ascertain who’s a close contact.”
When asked if it’s possible it was community transmission at Adelaide Airport, Dr Spurrier replied: “it’s difficult to tell”.
She said there’s a “relatively small risk” the virus was passed on to passengers.
“Because you've got six people already identified that use a particular area of the airport,” Dr Spurrier said.
"So if you have come off a flight today or in the last 24 hours, it may be worth giving your bags a wipe over and also monitoring yourself for symptoms.
"We do know that normally human-to-human contact (exists) for COVID-19, but as many people are aware, the science is not all out on other ways of transmission and we do know that the virus can survive on hard surfaces. So, I do recommend for people that have flown in the last approximately 24 hours to give their bags a wipe over.”
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a Qantas spokesperson confirmed six of its baggage handlers had tested positive.
“In addition to enhanced cleaning measures introduced since the Coronavirus outbreak at airports and on aircraft, we are conducting extensive cleaning of common areas used by these employees in Adelaide,” the spokesperson said.
“Seven flights to and from Adelaide are affected. This includes one Sydney flight that was on its way to Adelaide which will return to Sydney and passengers will be provided with accommodation and put on alternative services tomorrow.”
As of Tuesday, the state has 337 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 32 new cases.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.