The Informer: When a positive test means you're free to play tennis

Viral shredding, vaccine fairness and trapped chinese gold miners are some of the stories in today's Covid Informer.
Viral shredding, vaccine fairness and trapped chinese gold miners are some of the stories in today's Covid Informer.

Viral shedding. Have you heard that one yet?

The phrase has previously been used to describe traces of Covid-19 in the sewage system.

Today it took a gigantic leap into the Covid lexicon when Daniel Andrews announced positive test results for cases linked to the Australian Open had been reclassified as 'shedding' rather than actively infected.

The reclassification means close contacts of viral shedding cases could be released from hard lockdown - allowing them to train, coach, watch tennis and take selfies outdoors.

An. Absolute. Game. Changer.

Now, what is viral shedding? The Conversation published something back in November which sheds (sorry!) some light. Written by experts in virology they said there is no simple way to determine whether a person is shedding infectious virus. Swabbed samples, which is the method of testing available to you and me, certainly wouldn't work.

Presumably blood screening is being provided to those reclassified cases. Fantastic if you have the means to access it. Not so much for those who don't have a medical team on their books.

Does this mean a whole new level of testing to avoid quarantine has been opened up to those who can afford it? Watch this space.

Meanwhile Scott Morrison noted that Australia will be one of the last industrialised countries to roll out its immunisation program as every effort is made to make sure the process is safe.

Australia is in the luxurious position to have a choice. Today the World Health Organisation warned the 'world faces a catastrophic moral failure' because of unequal Covid vaccine policies. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described how 39 million vaccine doses had been given in 49 richer countries but one poor nation had only 25 doses.

In other news a group of miners who were trapped underground a week ago after an explosion in a Chinese gold mine are still alive.

Of the 22 miners trapped, 11 have been located in high levels of underground water 600m from the entrance. The race is now on to get them out.

For anyone stuck in hotel quarantine right now, things could be a whole lot worse.

Today's Informer was written by Gayle Tomlinson, ACM's head of audience.

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