News NSW and Victoria record zero new COVID cases
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NSW and Victoria record zero new COVID cases

John Barilaro and Brad Hazzard. Photo: AAP
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New South Wales and Victoria have both recorded zero new COVID cases locally, with both posting their first ‘doughnut day’ since the outbreaks began in the respective states.

NSW has however recorded another new case since 8pm Wednesday, the cut-off for the daily 24-hour reporting period, a person linked to the Avalon cluster who will be recorded in the next day’s statistics.

It comes on the eve of an emergency national cabinet meeting on Friday, where federal and state leaders will debate new options to stop the United Kingdom’s mutant virus strain from entering Australia, as well as vaccine rollout options.

 

NSW carried out 27,869 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm Wednesday, a slight downturn from the previous day’s 32,000. State authorities are still pleading for residents to get tested, with acting Premier John Barilaro saying officials wanted to see test numbers around 30-40,000 each day.

Six new cases were detected in returning travellers in hotel quarantine.

Mr Barilaro called NSW’s first zero-case day since mid-December “a tremendous result”.

The Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a controversial flashpoint in the state’s COVID response, began on Thursday morning with restrictions keeping crowds at 25 per cent of normal capacity.

Mr Barilaro said crowd restrictions would also apply to upcoming A-League football games in Sydney as well.

“We are not going pretend that there is no risk, but if people follow the rules, wear masks and make sure they socially distance, we believe that we can put on a Test today that will have minimal risk,” he said.

Victoria earlier had announced zero new cases from 32,767 tests on Wednesday.

The latest news comes after Victoria’s first mystery case of coronavirus in more than two months prompted calls for tens of thousands of cricket fans and Boxing Day shoppers to get tested.

A man in his 30s is believed to have caught the virus after attending sales at Chadstone Shopping Centre on Boxing Day and the second day of the test at the MCG a day later.

Tracing the source of the mystery case has been described by the state’s COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar as a “needle in a haystack exercise”, presenting a challenge to contact tracing.

As many as 8000 people who were seated in zone five of the Great Southern Stand on the afternoon of December 27 have been asked to get tested and isolate until they return a negative results.

Shoppers at 10 Chadstone stores between 6am and 2pm on Boxing Day have been issued with the same advice.

The New Daily reported on Thursday that patrons of a Melbourne bar had received confusing alerts and advice from Victorian contact tracers.

People who visited Stomping Ground Brewing in of Collingwood between 6pm and 7.30pm on December 28 were urged to get tested and self-isolate.

That advice was later escalated, with patrons advised to quarantine until January 11, regardless of the test result.

Then on Thursday – nine days after the exposure – diners started receiving calls and messages from contact tracers who had the wrong names and details of patrons who were potentially exposed.

“They called me thinking I was Steve, and then they called my girlfriend thinking she was someone else. It’s just a mess,” one man, called Mark, told TND.

More to come.

-with AAP.