Some of Australia’s wealthiest suburbs are coronavirus hotspots after residents brought the virus back on first class flights, luxury cruises and a skiing trip to Aspen.
As of Friday morning, 93 of Victoria’s 520 confirmed cases were in the affluent areas of Stonnington and the Mornington Peninsula, The Australian reported.
Wealthy suburbs Toorak and South Yarra are in Stonnington, while the seaside havens of Portsea and Sorrento, where the rich have their holiday homes, are on the Mornington Peninsula.
Toorak-Portsea residents are fond of skiing in Aspen, Colorado, which has unfortunately now resulted in a cluster of cases from an exclusive Aspen Ski resort.
Victorian health authorities have been monitoring the Colorado ski trip cluster, with dozens of infections believed to have stemmed from one group visit.
It is believed that one of the children of the group had been travelling around the world before visiting them in Aspen and transmitting the virus.
One man who interacted with the alpine ski set is now fighting for his life in a Melbourne hospital.
Another man had to be put on a ventilator after catching the virus at a cocktail party in Toorak attended by one of the group.
The man has since recovered.
Among those who had to be isolated after visiting Aspen was Flexigroup chairman Andrew Abercrombie, who has twice tested negative for the virus and has been cleared by Victoria’s health department.
The former state Liberal Party treasurer is ranked as the 187th richest person in Australia on the BRW Rich List with an estimated net worth of $512 million.
Mr Abercrombie and his wife Shadda put themselves into self-isolation while still in Aspen after hearing there had been a coronavirus case, and only returned to Australia after being cleared by US authorities.
Entrepreneur Sophie Carnegie-Cooper along with her partner, debt expert Michael Backwell were also among the Aspen group, along with marketing analyst Eliza Honan, the Herald Sun reported.
Another person who went skiing in Aspen took the virus to Queensland, where they attended the 50th birthday party of property magnate Glen Wright who founded the charity GIVIT, the Courier Mail reported.
The lavish party was held at the Sails restaurant in Noosa, which has become the state’s largest coronavirus cluster.
Up to 30 people who attended the party including staff and Mr Wright’s brother Peter, a butcher, all tested positive for the virus.
Three of the guests were mothers of girls who attend Brisbane’s elite private school, St Margaret’s in Ascot, an exclusive suburb in Brisbane’s inner north.
While the Colorado ski trip cluster may have infected hundreds of people, it has by no means been the only source of infection.
A NSW Health Department list shows more than 20 international flights in just one month – from 22 February to March 21 – where people came in close contact with an infected passenger in first or business class.
In NSW, the wealthiest areas of Sydney had more than half of the state’s 1,219 infections as of Thursday, although total case numbers have since risen again.
The Eastern Suburbs, which include the exclusive suburbs of Vaucluse, Point Piper, Rose Bay and Bellevue Hill, had recorded 319 cases of coronavirus as of Tuesday.
Waverley, which includes Bondi, Bronte and Queens Park, recorded 105 cases.
Bondi’s outbreak is not only confined to wealthy circles as there has been an outbreak among backpackers who have flown in from overseas.
Sydney’s inner city accounts for 91 cases, and there are 247 cases on the north shore, with the expensive Northern Beaches also one of the virus hotspots.
Luxury cruises popular among retirees have also become the gateway for coronavirus to enter Australia.
Half of South Australia’s 38 new cases of coronavirus come from the cruise ship Ruby Princess which docked in Sydney on March 19 after a tour of New Zealand, bringing the state’s total to 235 as of Friday.
Western Australia’s first death from coronavirus was a man in his 70s who had been reported to have been a passenger on the Ruby Princess but had instead travelled on another vessel.
The man’s death brings the national total to 13.
Fourteen cruise ships were being held offshore unable to dock at Australian ports on Thursday night following the death.
West Australian Police Commissioner Chris Dawson used state of emergency powers to ban passengers from the coronavirus-infected German cruise ship Artania from disembarking.
The ship has seven coronavirus cases aboard and is anchored 1km offshore.
Both Western Australia and NSW have given police the job of blocking cruise ships from docking, The Australian reported on Friday.