On March 6, Scott Maggs and Emma Metcalf enjoyed their picturesque wedding at Stanwell Tops on the New South Wales South Coast.
For their honeymoon, they went to the Maldives. It was there, while in a remote hut on the sea, that two of their wedding guests sent them an alarming message: they had tested positive to COVID-19, the virus responsible for the pandemic that has so far killed over 11,000 people globally.
With 120 wedding attendees, the couple immediately informed their friends and family who had been guests at their nuptials one week prior. They also contacted the NSW Health.
Upon learning the news, all had to go into self-isolation.
As of Friday, 37 of the couple’s guests had confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including elderly family members and people who travelled from around the world. It is understood the cases are in relation to United States travel.
“Due to factors outside our control, our wedding has become front-page news for something we could never anticipate,” the couple wrote on their Instagram pages on Friday evening.
They said they were “eternally grateful” of the guests who “were smart enough to get tested” upon suffering symptoms, as it allowed the newlyweds to “contain the transmission of something currently spinning the world into unprecedented fervour”.
“Australia was a very different place then to what it is today,” they wrote of their wedding day.
“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. ”
They continued: “It’s a very serious situation and our main priority is the health and safety of our guests and the broader community.”
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My partner @Emma_Metcalf and I tied the knot in a glorious fashion on the 6th of March at the beautiful @TumblingWatersRetreat. We were surrounded by our nearest and dearest and it was one of the best moments of our lives. The only media attention Emma and I were hoping for was to hero all the amazing people and small businesses who helped make our day so special. But due to factors outside our control, our wedding has become front page news for something we could never anticipate… On our honeymoon we were messaged by a couple of guests who had developed symptoms of COVID-19 and were smart enough to get tested. For this we are eternally grateful, because when their results came back positive it enabled us to immediately inform our guests, provide information to the Health Department and contain the transmission of something currently spinning the world into unprecedented fervor. Australia was a very different place then to what it is today. 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. There are now 37 confirmed cases in our guest list. Some of whom are elderly family members and people who travelled from around the world. It’s a very serious situation and our main priority is the health and safety of our guests and the broader community. As the CEO of a health promotion charity, we want to make sure people are well informed, can monitor their symptoms, manage their self isolation and have the opportunity to be tested – should they meet the criteria. Normally, we’re all about ‘early detection’, but unless you’re showing symptoms it’s important not to overwhelm the health system. Instead, know the warning signs, look out for each other and give people a (sanitised) hand instead of pointing fingers. Australia is all about mateship. We showed it during the bushfires and we can do it now. This was the the last thing in the world we wanted for our special day, but we hope our story we can remove the stigma about testing positive and help people stay calm in the face of adversity. We’re all in this together and together, we can overcome it.