Melbourne quarantine hotel workers given all clear after COVID-19 scare
Two people working at a Melbourne quarantine hotel have tested negative to COVID-19 after initially returning positive preliminary tests.
But the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) confirmed subsequent tests had come back negative.
The COVID-19 scare comes as Victoria recorded its 12th day of zero local coronavirus cases.
There were four cases detected in hotel quarantine after nearly 14,000 test results were received.
Police Minister Lisa Neville, who heads the state's quarantine program, on Twitter this morning said the initial results among workers were false positives.
"Two CQV staff have been cleared of COVID after returning initial weak positive results," she said.
"Saliva swab was retested and nasal PCR test taken - both came back negative.
"Contact tracing was undertaken and staff isolated as a precaution until the result was confirmed.
"Saliva tests are very reliable with negative results, but can return occasional false positives."
The staff were asymptomatic and the false positives were picked up during the program's daily testing regime.
The Alfred Health nurse worked in a front of house role, conducting temperature checks of travellers arriving at the hotel.
She was dressed in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including a face shield.
The police officer worked as a floor monitor.
The Age reported 41 other workers had been stood down while they awaited test results.
A COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria spokesperson in a statement said there are no positive staff members from the quarantine program.
Private businesses are permitted to have 50 per cent of their staff return, while the public sector can return at 25 per cent.
City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp told Today she was "very excited" to have city workers returning to offices, but many businesses were talking a slow and staged approach.
"They place such a vital role in our city, they make our city vibrant and viable," she said.
"But we know some of the biggest employers in Melbourne are taking a go-slow approach to bringing people back.
"We do acknowledge it's going to be a staged and caution return to work.
"It's very important that the Premier sends the strong messages that workers are welcome back."
Pre-COVID-19, one million people would walk through the streets of Melbourne every day, with about half being city workers.
Cr Capp said Melbourne's hospitality industry relied on the foot traffic of city workers in order to stay afloat.
"The city workers really help our city be viable," she said.
"The biggest proportion of our daily population are city workers. We know that the way we work is probably changed forever.
"But we do need people to come back. The great thing about today is that it's starting, that people can return in numbers. And whilst it won't be right at those limits, you have got to start somewhere and we are really pleased that today is the day."
Mask mandates have also been eased, becoming only compulsory in high-risk settings indoors such as supermarkets, shopping centres, hospitals, domestic flights, Ubers or taxis and public transport.
While Western Australia's hard border with Victoria has lifted today, with the first flight from Melbourne to land at Perth Airport this afternoon.
The hard border has moved to a "controlled border", meaning people coming into WA from Victoria no longer need a special exemption, but they must self-quarantine for 14 days and get a COVID-19 test.