Police officer in hospital with COVID-19 after protest exposure

Published by The Age on 7 October 2021

A Victorian police officer is in hospital with COVID-19 after he was exposed to the virus during recent anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne as the state recorded two coronavirus deaths and its second-highest daily case tally since the start of the pandemic.

The officer is one of two who have tested positive to the virus and was transported to hospital early on Thursday morning, Victorian Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said. Twenty-five officers from the same inner-city station have been stood down, but tested negative for the virus.

Mr Gatt said police officers working in the community during the pandemic were at risk of catching the virus.

“We’ve got members who have gone home and their family members, their children have tested positive subsequent to their work,” he said.

“We’ve had members who have been at protest activity in the city who have also tested positive.

“It heightens the need for us to focus on making sure they’re protected at work that they have PPE,” he said.

The case comes as a high school principal warned families to stick to COVID-19 rules after an illegal 16th birthday party resulted in a number of teenagers catching the virus, including one who is believed to be in intensive care.

Victoria recorded 1638 new local coronavirus cases on Thursday – the nation’s second-highest daily case number for a state since the start of the pandemic – and two deaths.

The two people who died were a woman in her 60s from Wyndham, and a woman in her 70s from Hume.

Victoria’s total number of active coronavirus cases stood at 15,074 after NSW and the ACT were downgraded under the state’s traffic light travel permit system from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

The state recorded the nation’s highest daily case number on Tuesday – 1763 cases.