A Melbourne woman who was infected with COVID-19 on a ski holiday in the US attended a 21st birthday party where at least six people have been struck down with the virus.
The outbreak at the party held in Malvern on March 14 are the latest coronavirus cases to be linked to a group of wealthy Australians who attended the exclusive Colorado resort of Aspen, where at least a dozen Australians tested positive.
The rapid spread of the disease has caused ructions among guests at the party, who claim the woman should have immediately placed herself into isolation when she returned to Melbourne on March 13.
Australians were part of a cluster of coronavirus infections in Aspen, Colorado.Credit:The Aspen Times/AP
But the following day, the woman mingled with about 80 guests at the function. The woman, who The Age has chosen not to name, had not experienced any symptoms and had not been tested before the function.
"These are wealthy, educated people and you just expect them to do the right thing and not take outrageous risk with other people's health," one guest told The Age.
Another guest said: "You don't need the government to tell you to use common sense."
Some people who attended the party are also furious they were not warned earlier about the heightened risk of infection. They insist that more prompt notification would have helped contain the virus.
The woman's son did send an SMS message on March 22 to former students of Scotch College warning of potential exposure to the virus. But other guests, including Melbourne Grammar School graduates, and some parents did not find out for at least a week after the event.
"Lads. A message from my mum. 'This is not something I wanted to tell you, but I have tested positive to COVID-19. I developed symptoms early Sunday morning (March 15). I am really very sorry for the implications, but it is important so you take the necessary precautions. Sadly we arrived on the Friday (March 13) not this Monday (March 16 when there is a whole different protocol in place)'," the text message says.
The Prime Minister announced on Sunday, March 15 – a day after the party – that all travellers arriving in Australia from foreign countries would be told to self-isolate for 14 days.
In another text message obtained by The Age, the woman says she complied with all government health guidelines.
"We arrived from US on Friday morning. Protocol at the time was, with no symptoms, you go about your business with normal health, handwashing, no kissing etc.
"You go through a rigorous set of questions with DHHS on who you had close contact with for the 24 hours before your symptoms."
But The Age has been told the woman did not disclose the entire list of about 80 people who attended the party.
She declined to comment when contacted by The Age, but is understood to remain in quarantine at a property in Portsea.
On Wednesday, The Age revealed another couple infected with COVID-19 while holidaying in Aspen has been the subject of repeated police complaints after allegedly flouting advice to self-isolate.
The pair were advised to isolate from the public after being tested at Frankston Hospital on March 15, but sources say they were later spotted at shops in Sorrento and a nearby golf course. The Age does not suggest they transmitted COVID-19 to another party.
This week, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the government would ramp up enforcement action against those who failed to heed public health warnings.
Mr Andrews issued a blunt warning to those who continue to flout government warnings saying, "If some Victorians continue to act in a selfish way, then people will die."
Five-hundred officers have been deployed to a taskforce to check on residents who are supposed to be self-isolating and inspect venues to ensure they comply with shutdown orders.
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