More evidence is emerging that large numbers of people in other states could have been exposed to the New South Wales coronavirus outbreak.
Authorities have used security footage to track the movements of removalists who were unknowingly infected as they travelled from Sydney to the outskirts of Melbourne and on to South Australia.
State leaders had expressed frustration that they were struggling to get clear information about the men’s exact movements, calling on the removal company to be more transparent.
There are a number of new exposure sites and rule changes across the nation.
Here’s an overview of the latest across impacted states:
NSW lockdown extension to be confirmed
Premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to make an announcement on Wednesday to confirm the next steps for NSW.
Case numbers were at 89 on Tuesday – far from the zero community cases the premier said was needed for the lockdown to lift.
Late on Tuesday night, the list of exposure sites grew further when sites in Smithfield, Punchbowl, Bankstown, Greenacre, Yagoona and Lakemba were added to the “close contacts” list.
- G James Glass and Aluminium, in Smithfield, on Tuesday 6 July, 7am to 6pm Wednesday 7 July, 7am to 6pm, Thursday 8 July, 7am to 6pm, Friday 9 July, 7am to 6pm
- Chubby Buns Burger, in Punchbowl, on Wednesday 7 July, 7pm to 7.10pm
- Primary Health Care Medical and Dental Centre (pharmacy only), in Bankstown, on Wednesday 7 July, 9.45pm to 10.00pm
- Sydney Wide Building Materials, in Greenacre, on Friday 9 July, 6.50am to 7.20am
- Kaffeine & Co, in Yagoona, on Saturday 10 July, 1.30pm to 2pm
- BHC Medical Centre, in Lakemba, on Monday 12 July, 8.35am to 8.55am.
Another 20 places were listed on the “casual contacts” list after 10pm.
- See the full list of exposure sites, here
Support packages in place from the NSW and federal governments suggest the state is preparing for the likelihood lockdown will need to go for at least another month.
Defending himself against criticism his government was quick to help NSW but not Victoria during its outbreak, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the situation in NSW was taking a “very different turn”.
“It is certainly our hope and ambition that we would not see lockdowns extending like we’re seeing them here in NSW, in other states and territories, but COVID-19 will set those rules.”
If NSW residents needed further reminding of the seriousness of the Delta strain, health experts are warning that one in three people in hospital with the virus are in intensive care.
Dr Paul Preisz, medical director of the emergency department at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst, told the Sydney Morning Herald that hospitals are “seeing a more diverse group of patients this time, with a disproportionate number of younger patients in ICU.
“It just seems like nobody is safe,” Dr Preisz said.
“Last year we saw older patients with high blood pressure and other existing conditions but this time they are younger, with no medical problems. We are seeing a broader range of ages.”
NSW removalists tracked through Victoria
CCTV footage has helped Victorian contact tracers map the movements of the trio of furniture removalists who unknowingly brought the virus from NSW.
At 10pm Tuesday night, more ‘Tier 1’ sites were publicly identified.
Anyone who was at the Caltex service station or Hungry Jacks in Kalkallo between 9.07am to 10.06am on July 8 must immediately isolate and get tested.
One of the removalists who has since tested positive had filled up the delivery truck at the bowser and also used the toilets inside the servo.
It appears the men dined at the Hungry Jacks, with the exposure period being for one hour.
- See the full list of Victorian exposure sites, here
Virus exposure risk at SA servo, cafe
It’s been revealed the men also stopped at a service station and nearby cafe in South Australia.
SA Health has confirmed the NSW trio, two of whom have tested positive, visited the Shell service station in Tailem Bend, 97 kilometres south-east of Adelaide.
A second potential exposure site was also revealed late on Tuesday: The Coolabah Tree Cafe, adjacent to the service station.
Anyone who attended either site on Friday 9 July, between 5.20pm and 7pm. must isolate for 14 days and get tested. Their close contacts must also isolate.
“A potential third exposure site is currently being investigated,” SA Health said in a statement.
“Both Shell staff members and their household contacts have returned negative test results. They all will remain in quarantine for 14 days and complete further testing requirements.”
The three removalists had travelled from Sydney through Victoria to McLaren Vale, where they unloaded furniture for a relocating family.
They stopped in Tailem Bend on their way back to NSW.
There were 18 QR code check-ins during that period but authorities believe it’s possible there may have been other people present.
“We will work very quickly now to put everybody that we need to into quarantine so that we can minimise the risk of this spreading in South Australia,” Premier Steven Marshall told reporters on Tuesday.
“The good news is we don’t believe there are any exposure sites whatsoever in McLaren Vale.”
Authorities are reviewing CCTV footage to determine whether the removalists made any other stops in SA on their return trip.
The family members who moved to SA have all tested negative so far and are in quarantine as close contacts of a confirmed virus case.
From Tuesday, all people entering SA from Sydney will require an exemption and face tougher checks before being granted permission.
This will include assurances of a suitable location to quarantine for two weeks.
About 950 people returned last week, but Mr Marshall says authorities want to “seriously turn that tap off” with the system no longer a “box-ticking exercise”.
SA will also increase restrictions on the freight sector from Thursday, with anyone entering SA required to have a test and be subject to stricter rules around their activities.
SA recorded no new cases on Tuesday, leaving the state with 19 active cases.
Three new Qld virus cases, NSW border open
Queensland has recorded three new COVID-19 cases and listed new exposure sites on the Sunshine Coast as the state government opts to keep the NSW border open – for now.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says there’s no concern about the three new cases, one in hotel quarantine and two in home quarantine.
The two in home quarantine are locally acquired and related to the Greek community centre cluster in Brisbane.
“So when we ask people, when they are a close contact to go in home quarantine, people are doing the right thing and they are being found,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Tuesday.
“So that’s keeping Queenslanders safe. I’m really happy about that.”
On Tuesday evening, Queensland Health issued new contact tracing locations in Noosa, Kenilworth, Eumundi and Sunshine Beach after the infectious period for a previously confirmed case was revised.
The sites include a news agency, cafe, pharmacy, liquor store and a bakery visited at various times between June 28 and July 1.
- Click here for the full list of Queensland exposure sites
The premier says it’s too early to make a call on the NSW border with no new locally acquired cases or COVID-19 positive sewage testing detected close to Queensland.
She said the Sydney outbreak will be reviewed on a day-to-day basis and the border situation could change at any time.
“We are keeping a very close eye on what’s happening in NSW,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“So I want to reassure Queenslanders that if it gets to the stage that we have to close we will. But at this stage we are monitoring it every single day.”