The Queensland man thought to be Australia’s youngest Covid-19 victim has tested negative to the virus after his death.
Nathan Turner’s death last week had baffled authorities and placed residents in his central Queensland town of Blackwater on notice after an initial coronavirus test following his death returned a positive result.
But a workmate of Turner’s fiancee on Monday revealed a second test conducted after his death came back negative.
“We have just got word from our staff member Nathan’s partner that his autopsy report has come in and Nathan has been CLEARED as COVID 19 NEGATIVE,” Kelly Bunyoung posted on Facebook.
“Blackwater can now rest easy.”
Queensland Health later confirmed the negative test.
“The coroner tonight advised that further tests have returned negative for Covid-19. He is yet to determine the man’s cause of death,” the state’s chief health office Jeannette Young said in a statement.
Turner, 30, had serious underlying health issues before experiencing coronavirus symptoms in the weeks before he died and was not tested while alive.
As Turner had not worked for six months or left the mining town since February, authorities were unsure how he contracted the virus.
Hundreds of Blackwater locals were tested and Queensland Health even had the town’s sewage tested to try and determine the source of his Covid-19 infection.
His death also led to an unnamed nurse, who has been suspended after she continued to show up for work at a Rockhampton nursing home, being the subject of an investigation into the source of the supposed infection.
She took a sightseeing road trip to Blackwater during the lockdown.
Meanwhile, tourism chiefs believed allowing Queenslanders to travel throughout the state will flush tourism towns with cash and get the sector back on the move after months of Covid-19 lockdown.
With the state’s borders still closed to interstate travellers, Tourism Tropical North chief executive Mark Olsen has welcomed the government’s announcement on Sunday that internal travel is back.
“It’s going to inject an extra $50 million into this economy,” he declared on Monday.
“Our industry is ready to go, we are here, ready to receive the calls.”
Phones have been ringing non-stop over the past 24 hours with hopeful travellers from the southeast corner confirming accommodation and activities, Olsen added.
They will face stiff competition from the Gold Coast, where businesses have been hit hard by a border closure that blocks southern neighbours seeking warmth during winter.
However, Destination Gold Coast chair Paul Donovan said he supports the border being reopened only when it’s safe to do so.
A marketing campaign that has laid dormant will now get into full swing to coax Queenslanders to tourism pockets across the sunshine state.
“Businesses are grateful that they can open their doors again,” Donovan said.
“Many have already started taking bookings from visitors throughout Queensland who are keen to come and visit the Coast.”
The enthusiasm from tourism businesses comes as the state celebrates a fourth consecutive day of zero coronavirus cases.
From Monday, Queenslanders can gather in groups of 20 in pubs, gyms and even travel throughout the state, but the borders will remain closed through June.
However, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said travel restrictions regarding remote and vulnerable Indigenous communities remained in place.