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COVID-19: I got contact traced!

COVID-19: I got contact traced!

OK, OK, while officially correct, that headline could be misleading.

I was not contact traced because I was a close contact of some COVID-19 infected person!

The reason I was contacted

As most of you know, I am a regular traveller between my home in Sydney and where I come from, Adelaide in South Australia. I was over there in the 2nd week of November – just one day within the 14 days before South Australia had its harsh 6 day – which turned into 3 days – lockdown.

Having read all the information and state health departments’ advice about that lockdown, It looked like I needed to complete a Declaration for New South Wales health. However, when I tried to complete it online, I kept getting filtered out on a couple of questions, and eventually called Services NSW for advice. Besides catching up with an old work colleague who is now working there, I was also advised that I did not need to complete the declaration. Despite what the instructions said, it was for prospective travel, not past travel.

a reception desk in front of a building

The contact

Yesterday I was contacted by a contact tracer at NSW Health because I had travelled to and from South Australia within the 14 day period outlined above.

They just wanted to check whether I had been in any of the identified hot spots within Adelaide during my stay. She proposed to read a list of suburbs to me, but I leapt in and gave her a rundown on my 3-day itinerary.

Essentially I had not moved beyond about a 1 km square of the hotel. Besides a bit of shopping (3 x pairs of desperately needed shorts, on sale), all I did was go to a celebratory lunch with three relatives one day and otherwise kept to myself, taking all other meals within the new Crown Plaza hotel (review to come).

a room with chairs and tables

How did they identify me?

I take the contact from NSW Health as proof that the registration forms you are required to fill in when coming from New South Wales into South Australia are working and that states are sharing information. That – other than directly from Qantas – is the only place NSW Health could have obtained my travel information.

a group of people in a room with glass doors

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

OK, it was slightly creepy that they got in touch, but realistically it is confirmation that the system we have been assured about – contact and trace – is working.

I for one am happy to ‘suffer’ this little bit of privacy invasion if it is of benefit to the wider Australian community and assists in the containment of any COVID-19 outbreak. OK, I admit to the self-interest. The sooner this pandemic is contained, the sooner I get to travel outside Australian borders again. Bring on the travel bubbles!

If answering a few questions about where I spent my time over 3 days is part of that – so be it.

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