An aged-care centre is in lockdown and a Kmart has been closed as the Crossroads Hotel COVID cluster continues to expand across Sydney.
There are also concerns about a second pub after a nearby pharmacy was forced to close after an employee’s positive coronavirus test.
NSW reported 13 new virus infections on Tuesday morning, including 10 linked to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak in Casula, in south-west Sydney. Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said 28 cases had been linked to the pub and urged anyone who visited between July 3-10 to self-isolate for 14 days.
Dr Chant said the hotel cluster was evolving – seven new cases were linked just on Tuesday morning.
“It is essential that people come forward for testing,” she said.
“This will enable us to understand the scope of spread associated with that facility, and remembering that there were other hotel staff who were
positive who were working on other days.”
Among those caught up in the hotel cluster was federal Labor MP Anne Stanley, who said she dined there a week ago. Her test came back negative on Tuesday, but she said she would continue to self-isolate.
Thank you to everyone for their well wishes, I'm happy to report my test has come back negative. I am continuing to self…
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said NSW would not be “COVID-free” anytime soon.
“There is no way that NSW will have zero cases during a pandemic,” she said.
“It’s not going to happen and we shouldn’t expect that – we were always going to have cases when we’ve eased restrictions and we have to expect that.
“The reason where we’re in especially high alert in NSW is also, of course, of what’s happened in Victoria.”
In response to the pub outbreak, NSW has tightened COVID rules for venues. Ms Berejiklian said there would be a cap of 300 patrons on indoor pubs and hotels, regardless of size, and group bookings would be capped at 10 people.
“It has been apparent to us … we need to take some further action to curtail some of that high-risk activity,” she said.
Pubs and hotels will also have to download and register a COVID-19 safe plan and take down contact details of all patrons.
Venues with a capacity of more than 250 will be required to have a full-time marshal to enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines.
The changes – decided during a meeting of senior government ministers on Monday night – do not apply to clubs, restaurants or The Star Casino (which has been linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster).
The Queensland government on Tuesday, meanwhile, declared the Liverpool and Campbelltown local government areas as COVID-19 hotspots.
Residents of those areas who try to enter Queensland will be barred entry, while Queensland-based visitors will be forced into 14 days of hotel quarantine once they return home.
South Australia also said on Tuesday it would not go ahead with a planned easing of border restrictions for NSW and ACT residents on July 20.
Crossroads cluster spreads
One of the new cases from the Crossroads Hotel worked at a Kmart in Casula on July 10, from 5pm until midnight. The shop has been closed for cleaning.
Another man who tested positive had visited the Prestons Lodge aged-care facility during his infectious period.
No other cases have yet been identified at home but Dr Chant said it had gone into lockdown “as a precaution”. One resident, who was visited by a man who later tested positive for coronavirus is being isolated, she said.
There are also major concerns around another local pub, the Picton Hotel, after an infected person visited its gaming room several times last week.
At Tahmoor – less than 10 kilometres away – the Pharmacy For Less was closed after an employee who worked at the weekend tested positive for coronavirus.
Vehicles queued for more than a kilometre at the pop-up coronavirus clinic in Picton by 10am on Tuesday morning, as worried locals waited for testing.
Picton Mayor Matthew Deeth said the clinic at Victoria Park was causing major traffic delays.
“We’re actually in the process of deploying additional traffic management resources as well as police will be on site soon to help assist in manage traffic delays,” he said.
On Monday, NSW Health confirmed a host of other venues visited by infected people from the Crossroads Hotel included:
- Planet Fitness Casula (July 6-10);
- Star City Casino (July 4);
- Canterbury Leagues Club (July 4);
- Narellan Town Centre shopping town Kmart, Target, Best & Less, H&M and food court (July 6);
- Zone Bowling Villawood (June 27).