A British holidaymaker diagnosed with coronavirus has been slammed for flying to a tourist hotspot in Australia, rather than self-isolating.
The 36-year-old woman, who had been Down Under for less than a week, tested positive for the illness in Sydney before travelling to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.
The woman was tracked down on the beach on Sunday, after New South Wales health chiefs contacted their colleagues in Queensland, and they sent a team out to find her.
The Courier Mail in Australia reported that the tourist had spent the night in isolation on the island before being taken by boat to Mackay, where she is currently in hospital.
The Brit claims she did not understand the instructions she was given after her diagnosis.
A Hamilton Island spokeswoman confirmed an international visitor had tested positive for coronavirus.
The statement read: “Hamilton Island would like to stress that the safety and wellbeing of our guests and staff on the island is of utmost priority.
“We would like to remind anyone travelling to the island about the importance of strictly following the advice of the government and health authorities during this uncertain time.”
There are currently 452 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Australia and five people have died.
In Australia, people who test positive are told to self-isolate until they get their results. People who test positive but are not ill enough for hospital are told to home quarantine for 14-days.
However, officials are being urged to dramatically increase testing to get the full picture of the virus’ spread across the country.
Dr Ian Mackay, a prominent Australian virologist, told The Guardian the country needs to step up its testing. He said: “If we don’t test, we don’t find.”
However, the country faces a shortage of testing kits as other countries limit testing kits exports and keep supplies for their own use.
The government is working to bolster the shortfall. Greg Hunt, federal health minister, said: “We have a team which is working with pathology providers.
“It’s about ensuring we have not just additional test kits, but the discussion I had with the Doherty Institute just prior to coming to air also included new testing regime so that we can expand beyond the individual tests, and they are looking at ways of expediting the testing process, and, indeed, some significant new mass testing processes over and above what we’re doing.”
Scientists say a drug used to treat malaria and HIV kill off the virus in a test tube and could be used to deter the virus.
The drug is being tested at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research and hopes to enroll patients in a trial by the end of the month, news.com.au reports.