South Australian health authorities are contacting people who attended an Adelaide auction last month over concerns they might have been exposed to coronavirus.
- Two people diagnosed with coronavirus in SA are being treated in the Royal Adelaide Hospital
- Ray White real estate said the pair were at an auction last month, and that other attendees were being notified
- It comes as a cruise ship carrying 2,000 passengers including an Adelaide couple is refused entry to another port
Ray White real estate said it was told two confirmed coronavirus victims attended a property on Pam Street at Firle on January 22.
It was revealed over the weekend that a couple in South Australia has been diagnosed with coronavirus and is being treated at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
The couple — a man and woman both aged 60 — are from Wuhan in China and travelled to South Australia to visit relatives.
Ray White spokeswoman Lisa Pengelly said the agency’s Dulwich office had been closed as a precaution, because of the potential risk of exposure from staff, and that people who attended the auction were being notified.
“We have supplied the list of attendees and we understand that SA Health are in the process of contacting those individuals — they had asked to do that themselves,” Ms Pengelly said.
“We’ve taken the step to close our office in the interests of ensuring we don’t pose any risk to our clients or the local community.”
Ms Pengelly said no-one in the office had reported any symptoms or sickness and the decision to close was a voluntary one.
“We don’t want to be alarmist and we certainly don’t want to create or be a part of any mass panic, I think it’s just acting sensibly in the circumstances,” she said.
“We’ve been told the 14-day quarantine period is up on Thursday and our intention is all our team will be working from home, everyone’s fine, so everyone will be working from home in self-imposed quarantine.
“We’ll reassess the situation on Thursday and be making sure everyone is well before we reopen the office.”
Neighbour Hossein Yousefpour attended the auction outside the house and estimated about 25 other people were there.
He received a call from SA Health staff yesterday.
“I was surprised but I was told to be careful … he said by tomorrow if you haven’t got any signs, no problem,” he said.
Another neighbour, Ala Buivydas, has put plans on hold as a precaution, cancelling appointments she had scheduled for today and tomorrow.
She visited the house after the auction to congratulate the new buyers and said she did not mingle with the crowd.
“[SA Health] called us to perhaps make us aware that perhaps we could have a couple of days at home to make sure we’re not with the public or the community,” she said.
“I’m pretty confident my husband and I are all OK.”
SA Health said it had now tested 88 people in South Australia for the virus.
Ship carrying Adelaide couple refused entry to second port
Meanwhile, a cruise ship carrying Australian passengers which was refused access to the Philippines because of coronavirus concerns has now also been refused entry to a Taiwanese port.
Holland America’s Westerdam cruise ship is now planning to dock in Kaohsiung instead of Hualien — the Taiwanese port it was refused entry to.
The ship left Hong Kong on Saturday, heading towards Manila, but the Philippines then temporarily banned travellers from China, Hong Kong and Macau from disembarking in the country on Sunday after it recorded the first death from coronavirus outside of China.
Passengers instead spent an extra day in the South China Sea before the captain announced the ship would make an unscheduled stop in Hualien.
Adelaide man David Holst, who along with Judy is among about 2,000 people onboard the ship, said the crew did a presentation about Hualien and its attractions yesterday morning.
Then, at 5:00pm, the captain announced Hualien had also refused to take the ship.
It will instead go to Kaohsiung, as planned on the original itinerary.
Mr Holst said it was “very upsetting” to miss out on a stop in Manila.
“The thing that upsets you most is the communication or the lack of communication from Holland America,” he said.
“It’s almost like we’re mushrooms and they keep us in the dark and they don’t tell us anything and everything they do they try to put a spin on it and make themselves sound fantastic.”
Holland America has not responded to a request for comment.
Passenger questions decision to stop in Hong Kong
In a blog post on January 28, the company said it would still dock in Hong Kong for its February 1 cruise, but that the trip would finish in Yokohama, Japan, rather than Shanghai.
An undated update said cruises would no longer stop in Hong Kong from February 15.
Mr Holst said passengers were given a $50 shop credit to thank them for being “grateful” for what the crew was doing for them.
He said Holland America should not have taken the risk of stopping in Hong Kong.
“It would have been a huge pain to avoid Hong Kong, but if you are doing everything to protect your clients you wouldn’t go there, but they did go there and pick up,” he said.
Hong Kong is not subject to the same strict travel restrictions as China.
Other passengers and crew members corroborated Mr Holst’s account of the itinerary changes.
Illusionist Jeremy Tan and his wife Angel were originally going to join the cruise at Manila, then Hualien and now Kaohsiung.
“A bit of a hiccup with travels today, but all is settled now,” Mr Tan wrote on Facebook.
“Now we are going to take a train to Kaohsiung, stay for the night, then join the ship tomorrow.
“Thank you all for your concern and texts.”
original source: Abc