News Coronavirus Queensland declares Sydney suburbs ‘hotspots’ amid COVID outbreak

Queensland declares Sydney suburbs ‘hotspots’ amid COVID outbreak

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Queensland has declared two Sydney local governments areas “COVID hotspots” after a cluster of cases in the city.

The decision means that, from midday on Tuesday, anyone who has been in the Liverpool and Campbelltown council areas in the past 14 days will not be able to enter Queensland.

It comes as NSW health authorities scramble to contain the coronavirus cluster in south-western Sydney that has been linked to several other venues across the city and southern NSW, including The Star casino.

Hundreds of people who visited the busy Crossroads Hotel in Casula from July 3-10, when the outbreak started, are now in isolation.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles confirmed on Tuesday that 18 Queenslanders were among them. They have been tested for the virus and are in isolation, awaiting results.

The NSW government will announce a return to stricter requirements for pubs on Tuesday after confirmation of 10 coronavirus cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel, and a further 11 indirectly connected.

Authorities are also investigating whether a truck driver could be the outbreak’s “patient zero”.

The huge pub, which is within 10 kilometres of the busy Southern Cross Transport Terminal at Chipping Norton, is popular among truck drivers.

On Monday, NSW chief medical officer Kerry Chant confirmed authorities were looking at the possibility a truck driver might be the source of the infection.

Her comments followed those of Dr Miles, who said the Crossroads Hotel was a hub for travellers and truck drivers transporting freight interstate.

He said those in Queensland who had visited the venue in the period of concern (July 3-10) should be tested for the virus and isolate themselves immediately.

“The hotel is a busy stopover for many travellers, so it is very likely that there are a number of Queenslanders who have been there during this period,” he said.

Meanwhile, South Australia will also review its border measures with NSW and the ACT with an eye to the worsening outbreak. SA is due to lift restrictions from July 20, but the hotel cluster has put that in doubt.

The state’s transition committee will consider the issue on Tuesday but Premier Steven Marshall said there was a question mark over the timetable.

“We’ve got to have a very close look at what’s happening with that cluster, that’s raising some real queries,” he said.

“If it’s not safe to lift our border restrictions then we will not be doing so.”

SA has previously lifted the quarantine restrictions for people coming from Queensland, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

But it has imposed a hard border closure with Victoria, allowing only locals to return and essential travellers through, because of the surge of infections in Melbourne. Queensland is also maintaining its ban on visitors from Victoria.

-with AAP