'High chance' of more Tasmania virus cases

·2-min read

Public health officials in Tasmania say there is a high likelihood of coronavirus cases spreading from an infected teenager who broke home quarantine to visit a supermarket.

The 15-year-old boy, the island state's second recorded case this year, tested positive on Saturday after flying to Launceston from Melbourne the previous day.

It was revealed on Monday he visited an IGA in the suburb of Newnham on Saturday, resulting in the supermarket being declared an exposure site from 2.20pm to 2.45pm.

Acting Premier Jeremy Rockliff said 17 primary close contacts and 35 casual contacts of the boy have been identified.

These include some of his close family, workers at Launceston Airport, passengers on the plane and people at the IGA.

Nine of the primary close contacts, who are all in quarantine, have returned negative results and the remainder have tests pending.

The boy, who is staying in a Hobart medi-hotel with his dad, has been confirmed as having the more contagious Delta variant.

State Public Health Director Mark Veitch said the likelihood was "quite high" that a case would be diagnosed among the teenager's primary family contacts.

"There are two things we're principally concerned about - whether or not this case has spread infection to their close, or casual, contacts," he said on Tuesday.

"It's much more likely to occur with the smaller circle of close contacts."

He said close contacts will have one test now, one towards the start of next week and one in between if they experience virus symptoms.

"It really requires us to wait 12-14 days, which is towards the middle of the month, until we know the close contacts are clear and the casual contacts too," Dr Veitch said.

He said there were very few people in the IGA at the time of the 15-year-old's visit, and any contact was fleeting.

Twelve additional wastewater sites in Launceston will be tested over the next fortnight.

Health authorities are urging anyone in the city with symptoms to get tested, even if they have been vaccinated.

Tasmania is closed to Victoria but the boy was allowed to travel home and quarantine under a returning residents policy.

Acting Tasmania Police Commissioner Donna Adams said the boy's quarantine breach would be reviewed but an emphasis would be placed on diversion rather than criminal charges given his age.

She noted there had been just one other breach from some 13,000 home quarantine stays since January.

Tasmania's only other case this year was a NSW traveller who tested positive in August while in hotel quarantine.

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