NSW Health has issued travel alerts for a host of Sydney’s busiest public routes after a worker at a quarantine hotel tested positive for the coronavirus.
The woman, who worked shifts at the Novotel and Ibis at Darling Harbour, was confirmed to have the virus early on Thursday. Both hotels are in a single complex.
Confirmation of the case ends NSW’s run of days with only coronavirus cases in hotel quarantine. It has also sparked fears among authorities that it could mark the beginning of another community outbreak.
“Up until 8pm last night, we would have been saying today was our 26th day [clear of community cases],” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Thursday.
“It is our 26th day. [But] we now have one case and this particular lady worked in two hotels in Sydney. She was worked at the Novotel and the IBIS at Darling Harbour. One of those is a police quarantine hotel.”
Because it was reported after 8pm on Wednesday, the hotel worker’s case will be officially included in Friday’s number.
The woman, who lives in Sydney’s south-west, travelled to and from work at the Ibis last Friday and at the Novotel on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.
She caught trains to and from Minto station to Central, in the Sydney CBD, and then the light rail to Darling Harbour. NSW has issued alerts for the following times:
- November 27, Convention to Central, 4.01-4.11pm
- November 28, Convention to Central, 3.14-3.29pm
- November 29, Convention to Capitol Square, 3.58-4.09pm
- November 29, Capitol Square to Central, 4.55-5.03pm
- November 30, Central to Convention, 6.39-6.54am
- November 30, Convention to Central, 3.10-3.26pm
- November 27, Minto to Lidcombe, 4.55-5.52am
- November 27, Central to Lidcombe, 4.12-4.49pm
- November 28, Central to Lidcombe, 3.31-4.32pm
- November 29, Central to Lidcombe, 5.05-5.44pm
- November 30, Lidcombe to Central, 6.14-6.37am
- November 30, Central to Minto, 3.28-4.20pm
“To anybody who was using that particular railway line or the light rail, please look out for symptoms, get tested, and listen to the advice from NSW Health until the results are through,” Mr Hazzard said.
“And just do what you have been doing. Our community in NSW has been phenomenal for the past 10 months.”
Five people from the infected woman’s household have so far tested negative for the virus. They are in isolation.
NSW Health has asked anyone who worked at the hotels from last Friday to Monday to monitor for symptoms, self-isolate and get tested.
Genomic testing is underway to determine the source of the woman’s infection.
“That will give us clarity as to where it’s come from, whether it was hotel or whether it was from some other source,” Mr Hazzard said.
The news comes a day after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a swathe of virus restrictions would ease from Monday.
On Thursday, she said it was a “very serious situation” and a “stark reminder” of the persistent threat of the coronavirus until a vaccine is distributed.
“At this stage, the health advice doesn’t require us to [go backwards],” she said.
“But if the next few days, the situation changes and health advice changes I will not hesitate to act as the Premier.”
Meanwhile, NSW Health also wants people in Sydney’s north-west to get tested for the virus if they have even mild symptoms after traces of the coronavirus were detected at a sewage plant in Riverstone.
Fragments of the virus were detected in samples taken on Sunday from the sewerage system that drains parts of Riverstone, Vineyard, Marsden Park, Shanes Park, Quakers Hill, Oakville, Box Hill, The Ponds, Rouse Hill, Nelson, Schofields and Colebee.
Victoria’s clean slate continues
Victoria confirmed its 34th day in a row without any new coronavirus infections on Thursday.
However, there were some worrying moments early in the day, with state health authorities delaying the data’s release. Even chief health officer Brett Sutton was apparently a bit concerned.
“Phew. Had me going there for a minute,” he tweeted when the information finally came through.
The Department of Health and Human Services has not explained the reason for the delay.
Thursday’s clean slate came from more than 10,000 tests across Victoria.
The state resumes taking returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine on December 7.
On December 6, Premier Daniel Andrews will announce what remaining virus rules will be wound back across the state. He has signalled it is likely to be his last major announcement as Victoria heads into a “COVID-normal” summer.