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More Australian State Residents Potentially Exposed To Covid-19

Victoria's health department identifies six released returned travelers staying at Playford Hotel when a guest caught Covid-19.

ADELAIDE, Australia — A further six Victorians may have been exposed to the virus after staying at the same South Australian quarantine hotel where a Melbourne man is suspected of catching Covid-19.

The Department of Health has identified six people now in Victoria as having left the third floor of Adelaide’s Playford Hotel during the potential transmission period.

All have been contacted and are now urgently being tested as they undergo another 14-day quarantine stint.

Authorities in South Australia have issued similar orders for ten discharged returned travelers still in their state.

It comes as the Victorian government cracks down on businesses flouting Quick Response code check-in rules after the state’s latest coronavirus scare exposed flaws in the system.

Contact tracing efforts were hampered this week as some patrons at the Curry Vault restaurant, where the infected Melbourne man dined on the night of May 7, failed to use the Quick Response code system.

The restaurant manager estimated there were between 28 and 40 people on the premises that night, but health officials claimed that there were far fewer names on the Quick Response code list.

In response, the state government on May 13 announced businesses breaking check-in rules will face a new AU$1652 ($1277) on-the-spot fine and further penalties of up to AU$9913 ($7665), and prosecution for repeated breaches.

A Covid-Safe Quick Response code seen outside a match court at the Melbourne Park tennis complex in Melbourne, February 2, 2021. (Dave Hunt/AAP Image)

Checks last week showed more than a third of businesses are not complying with Quick Response code rules.

It follows authorities dishing out 165 enforcement notices and 300 warnings as part of a three-week blitz of 4000 cafes, shops, and restaurants in April.

The breaches included a lack of signage, failing to use Quick Response codes, and not having a Covid-safe plan.

While most businesses are doing the right thing, Acting Police Minister Danny Pearson claimed that others were “letting down” Victorians after the state fought to defeat its deadly second wave.

“Two weeks ago, it was 34 percent, and last week it was 37 percent, and it’s just not good enough,” he said in a statement. “The upward trend was unacceptably high.”

The Services Victoria Quick Response code system will only become mandatory for businesses from the end of May, with the opposition questioning why it didn’t follow New South Wales’ lead earlier.

An average of 28,000 check-ins are being registered on the system every day, with more than 91,000 businesses signing up.

Health authorities, meanwhile, are still awaiting test results for about 30 close contacts of Melbourne’s most recent virus case.

Of the 121 primary close contacts of the infected man from Wollert in Melbourne’s north, 90 have returned negative tests so far.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Pallavi Mehra)

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