Australia

Two Australian Border Force officials test positive for coronavirus

Two Australian Border Force Officers, one in New South Wales and the other in Queensland, have tested positive to coronavirus. Source: AAP

The officers are located in New South Wales and Queensland, a spokesperson confirmed. It is not known exactly when the officers tested positive for the condition.

Two Australian Border Force Officers, one in New South Wales and the other in Queensland, have tested positive for coronavirus. 

An ABF spokesperson confirmed the diagnosis to SBS News on Tuesday and said they were providing "appropriate support and information” to the officers’ immediate colleagues.

It is not known exactly when the officers tested positive to the illness.

“Both QLD and NSW Health are providing the officers with medical advice and guidance, and contact tracing has been conducted with other ABF officers and other staff who may have had close contact with the officers," they said.

“The safety and wellbeing of our officers remains a key priority in protecting our borders”.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment separately told SBS News that none of their frontline biosecurity officers have contracted the virus.

“A number of biosecurity officers have been tested since 2 February 2020 for COVID-19 where they have either had flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with a confirmed case”, a spokesperson said.

“All biosecurity officers that are suspected of being infected are placed on paid leave whilst they are awaiting test results ... [those that] are well and able to work are being fully utilised at this time to meet the demands across our operations.”

Labor's Home Affairs Spokesperson Kristina Keneally says Border Force officers deserve every ounce of support possible during these trying times.

“Australian Border Forcer officers are working on the frontline of our borders, helping protect Australians from coronavirus and their dedication and sacrifice must never be underestimated," Senator Keneally told SBS News.
 
"My best wishes are with the affected officers and their families- it’s essential they are supported at this time by the Australian Border Force and the broader Department of Home Affairs. This is exactly why Labor fought for all frontline ABF officers to have access to additional coronavirus leave if impacted by the virus.
 
"Peter Dutton has asked his ABF officers to protect Australians from coronavirus and he must ensure they are protected in the workplace including access to Personal Protective Equipment, sanitiser and properly-cleaned common areas.”
 
The Minister of Home Affairs has been contacted for comment. 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

More to come

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