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US: Dozens test positive for coronavirus after attending wedding

06:49 23 March 2020 Author :  

Dozens of people who attended a wedding earlier this month at a retreat in Stanwell Tops, Australia, have tested positive for the coronavirus, health officials said.

During a news conference on Monday to provide an update on the pandemic in the country, New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said six guests from the March 6 wedding at Tumbling Waters Retreat were infected with the virus.

By Friday, that number had climbed to 31, the health department told Sky News Australia.

One of the guests was Australian Sen. Andrew Bragg, who said he was among those who tested positive.

"I was a guest at a friend’s wedding in Stanwell Tops on 6 March. After satisfying the guidelines of direct exposure and flu symptoms, I have tested positive to Coronavirus," he tweeted. "I am following the guidelines set by NSW Health and will isolate myself."

The bride, Emma Metcalf, said in an Instagram post on Friday that she and her husband were on their honeymoon when they learned that some of their guests had become infected.

Metcalf said that at the time of their wedding, Australia did not have any travel bans or restrictions on large gatherings.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a travel ban on all nonresidents entering the country and limited non-essential indoor gatherings to less than 100 people.

Metcalf said they "would never have put people at risk if we had known what we know now." She said some of those who have tested positive are elderly family members and people who traveled from overseas for their ceremony.

"It’s a very serious situation and our main priority is the health and safety of our guests and the broader community," she wrote. "Australia is all about mateship. We showed it during the bushfires and we can do it through this. ⁣⁣This was the last thing in the world we wanted for our special day. But this crisis is going to affect so many of us in so many ways."

Sonja Keller, the owner of Tumbling Waters Retreat, told NBC News in a statement Friday that staff members who worked the wedding and were eligible for testing were cleared.

"Their results came back negative for Covid-19 virus. All my team are in good health and so are their families," Keller said.

The retreat said in an Instagram post that they are working closely with the health department and following their guidelines.

"It is still unclear the source of the contagion," Tumbling Waters Retreat said. "I feel that when this nightmare is over our team will be busier than ever - we all just need to not panic, keep rational and weather the storm."

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