News Coronavirus ‘Patient zero’: Melbourne man at work party sparked NSW cluster

‘Patient zero’: Melbourne man at work party sparked NSW cluster

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A Melbourne man attending a work party has been identified as the likely “patient zero” for the COVID outbreak that is spreading across Sydney.

There are now 33 infections linked to the busy Crossroads Hotel, in Sydney’s south-west, as authorities confirmed on Wednesday they had traced the virus strain to Victoria’s outbreak.

The man, who works for a freight company, is thought to have infected several work colleagues after heading into his company’s office in Sydney on June 30.

He went to the Crossroads Hotel at Casula with several workmates for a party on July 3. By July 10 there were two confirmed infections in the surrounding area with the pub as their only connection.

That revelation came as the Northern Territory joined Queensland in slamming its border shut to Sydneysiders.

“We will declare all local government areas in greater metropolitan Sydney as hotspot areas for the purposes of travel to the Northern Territory,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said on Wednesday.

“This means that from Friday, if there are any arrivals to the Territory from Sydney, or who have been in Sydney in the previous 14 days, they will be directed into mandatory, supervised quarantine.”

The NT decision follows a similar move by Queensland to restrict entry to the Sunshine State for everyone in the local government areas of Liverpool and Campbelltown – more than 70 south-western Sydney suburbs.

Also on Wednesday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed another person had died of the coronavirus. The woman in her 90s was the state’s fifth COVID-related death since Saturday.

The state’s COVID-19 toll is at 27, while the nationwide toll is 111.

Mr Andrews confirmed 238 new virus infections for Victoria on Wednesday. Since last Friday, the state has had only one day (Monday) with fewer than 200 new cases.

It has 105 people in hospital, an increase of 20 since Tuesday. Of those, 27 are in intensive care.

“These hospitalisation numbers are of great concern to us,” Mr Andrews said.

NSW had 10 new COVID cases on Wednesday, 10 of them related to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak. Of those, six attended the venue, two involve close contacts and another two are related to nearby Planet Fitness gym in Casula.

Anyone who visited the gym between July 4-10 has been urged to get tested for COVID and self-isolate.

Other venues newly linked to the Casula outbreak:

  • Bankstown YMCA (Revesby)
  • Woolworths (Bowral)
  • Milky Lane (Parramatta)
  • Bavarian Macarthur (Campbelltown)
  • Macarthur Tavern (Campbelltown)
  • West Leagues Club (Campbelltown)
  • Kmart (Casula)
  • Picton Hotel (Picton)

For a full list of NSW venues and dates of concern, see here