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Covid-19: 37 guests at an Australian wedding tested positive for the coronavirus

Anneta Konstantinides , Business Insider US
 Mar 21, 2020, 12:00 PM
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Chairs are set up fo
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Chairs are set up for a wedding at Clark Park in North Sydney on March 21, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday introduced further measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), implementing new rules limiting the number of people inside a venue to one person every 4 square metres. Non-essential gatherings of 100 or more people indoors are banned, along with outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). A travel ban on all visitors who are not Australian citizens or residents or their direct relations arriving into the country is now in place. There are now 1023 confirmed cases of COVID-19 In Australia and the death toll stands at seven. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
  • Thirty-seven guests of an Australian wedding have tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Emma Metcalf and Scott Maggs, the bride and groom, told The Sydney Morning Herald that they had tested negative for the disease.
  • The newlyweds had been on their honeymoon in the Maldives after the March 6 wedding when they heard that two guests had tested positive.
  • Metcalf and Maggs told Yahoo! Australia that they then focused on informing their friends and family to make sure everyone got tested.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Scott Maggs and Emma Metcalf were enjoying their honeymoon in the Maldives last week when they got a text: Two of their wedding guests had tested positive for the coronavirus.

It was only the beginning.

As of Friday, 37 guests from the Australian couple's March 6 wedding have tested positive for the disease that has shut down entire countries around the globe.

The couple told The Sydney Morning Herald reporter Andrew Hornery that the news has turned their "world upside down."

"We just did not see it coming," Maggs, 37, added.

The couple got tested after they returned to Sydney, discovering that neither of them had contracted COVID-19.

"It's insane," Maggs told the Herald. "We were kissing and hugging people all night. We can't explain it, let alone believe it."

Australia has had 791 confirmed cases of the coronavirus to date, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine's Coronavirus Resource Center. Seven people have died from the virus in the country, and 26 people have recovered at the time of writing.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison banned "nonessential" gatherings of more than 100 people on March 18.
Rohan Thomson/Getty
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison ordered the country to close its borders to non-residents and non-citizens on Friday. Two days earlier, he banned "nonessential gatherings" of more than 100 people.

Maggs and Metcalf, 36, said no such bans had been in place on their wedding day.

"Australia was a very different place then to what it is today," Maggs told Yahoo! Australia's Louise Cheer and Kristine Tarbert. "There were no travel bans or restrictions on gatherings and we would never have put people at risk if we had known what we know now."

But the couple said they and their guests have already received a lot of online hate.

"We were completely gutted when we first found out, and we really wanted our friends to be safe and for them to be well. I couldn't really think past that," Maggs told Yahoo! News.

"But due to factors outside our control, our wedding has become front page news for something we could never anticipate."

Passengers arrive at Sydney Airport on some of the last flights into Australia before the borders were shut to non-residents and non-citizens on Friday.
James D. Morgan/Getty Images
Metcalf told the Herald that people have accused the couple and their guests of "being irresponsible" and "blaming us for the virus."

"It has been pretty full on," she said. "We are very sensitive about that and trying to shield our guests from that."

"I just hope people can be a little kinder to each other, and handle this a bit better," Metcalf added. "People are really suffering, the last thing we need is for them to be shamed."

Most of the couple's guests are still in isolation, including elderly family members.

An Australian senator and a woman who is 30 weeks pregnant, along with her husband, were among the guests who tested positive.

Maggs told Yahoo! Australia that he and Metcalf decided to share their story in the hopes it would "remove the stigma of testing positive and help people stay calm in the face of adversity."

"We're all in this together," he said. "And together we can overcome it."

Maggs and Metcalf did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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