‘It is unacceptable’: Man with coronavirus skips self-isolation to go to work at major hotel and visit nightclub

Tasmanian government considering tougher rules for self-isolation after ‘irresponsible’ actions

Coronavirus: Empty supermarket shelves amid panic buying

An Australian man who contracted coronavirus went to work at a major hotel and visited a nightclub despite being told to self-isolate, health authorities have said.

The man, who is in his 20s, was confirmed as the second case of coronavirus in Tasmania, Australia, on Sunday after being tested on Friday.

Mark Veitch, Tasmania’s director of public health services, said the man experienced some cold-like symptoms on 27 February after returning to Australia from Nepal via Singapore.

Although he was told to self-isolate while he waited for his test results, the man went out to a restaurant and club that night and went to work the next day, according to the public health director.

Mr Veitch said it was unclear why he did not self-isolate when he was asked to by health officials.

“It's our belief that he did understand the requirements,” he said.

“It is unacceptable to continue activities in public or attend work while waiting for the coronavirus virus test results.”

A statement from the Tasmanian Department of Health has said anyone who is aware of having a notifiable disease, such as Covid-19, “must take all reasonable measures to prevent transmission and not knowingly or recklessly place others at risk”.

“There are options to prosecute in the Public Health Act for putting other people at risk,” Mr Veitch added.

The patient worked shifts on seven days at the Hobart’s Grand Chancellor Hotel and its restaurant after he began experiencing cold-like symptoms, although not all shifts involved contact with the public.

“The man’s activities over the past week may have resulted in casual contact with members of the public in various settings,” the department said.

“The risk of catching coronavirus in such settings is low.”

Nevertheless, the hotel has contacted all staff who worked with the man, advising staff members to ring a public health hotline if they are considered to have been in close contact of him.

The Grand Chancellor Hotel has been approached for comment on the case.

There have been 114 tests for coronavirus in Tasmania and two positive results, as of Sunday.

Sarah Courtney, Tasmania’s health minister, has said the government is considering stronger measures to ensure self-isolation requests are followed.

“We want to see Tasmanians kept safe, kept healthy, so it's unacceptable that you do not follow the advice and indeed today I have asked the director of Public Health for further advice on whether or not we need to strengthen measures to ensure compliance with self-isolation,” Ms Courtney said.

“I send a very strong message to Tasmanians, if you have been asked to be in self-isolation, you must comply with that.

“It is very serious and it is very irresponsible if you do not comply with self-isolation.”

The federal health minister Greg Hunt has also called on Australians to be their “best selves” after reports of panic buying and concern about shortages of medical supplies in recent days.

“There have been some things which have occurred in recent days which have not been our best selves,” Mr Hunt said.

“This is the moment [for Australia] to be its best self, and for Australia to be the nation and the community we know it can be... We will get through this together.”

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