News Coronavirus NSW issues urgent COVID alerts as authorities race to detect source of infections

NSW issues urgent COVID alerts as authorities race to detect source of infections

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NSW Health has issued an urgent coronavirus alert for more than a dozen Sydney venues after the state recorded three new cases in the community.

It comes after NSW broke its 12-day streak without locally acquired coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

A Sydney airport driver was confirmed to have the virus in the morning and then two mystery cases were confirmed in the Northern Beaches by Wednesday night.

They include a woman in her 60s and a man in his 70s who are close contacts of each other.

Authorities have yet to find a connection to any other cases.

The results from genomic sequencing and contact tracing efforts are expected on Thursday or Friday.

In the meantime, NSW Health said anyone who visited the following sites was considered a close contact and should get tested and isolate for 14 days, even if the test is negative.

They include venues across Sydney’s northern beaches after the two new cases confirmed later on Wednesday moved through the community while contagious.

  • Hungry Ghost Cafe, 20 Avalon Parade, Avalon, Sunday, December 13, 9.30-11am and Tuesday, December 15, 9.30-11am;
  • Sneaky Grind Cafe, 3/48 Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach, Monday, December 14, 9.30-11am;
  • Barramee Thai Massage and Spa, 4/42-44 Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach, Monday, December 14, 2-3.30pm;
  • Bangkok Sidewalk Restaurant, 1/21-23 Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach, Monday, December 14, 7-8pm;
  • Avalon Bowlo (bowling club), 4 Bowling Green Lane, Avalon Beach , Sunday, December 13, 5-7pm (not 3-5pm as previously reported) and Tuesday, December 15, 3-5pm;
  • Palm Beach, women’s change rooms, Sunday, December 13, 9-9.15am;
  • Coast Palm Beach Cafe, Barren Joey Road, Palm Beach, Sunday, December 13, 10‑11am;
  • Woolworths Avalon Beach, 74 Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach, Sunday, December 13, midday-5pm.

A warning has also been issued for those who visited the following venues to get a test immediately and remain in isolation until they receive a negative result.

  • Bing Lee, Gateway, 1 Mona Vale Road, Mona Vale, Monday, December 14, 4.30‑4.45pm;
  • Woolworths Avalon Beach, 74 Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach, Tuesday, December 15, midday-12.30pm;
  • Oliver’s Pie, Careel Shopping Village, 1 Careel Head Road, Avalon Beach, Monday, December 14, 9-9.15am.

The two cases were identified just hours after a 45-year-old driver transporting international air crew members to and from Sydney Airport and their hotels was confirmed COVID-positive.

NSW is considering changes to quarantining requirements for international air crew, the state’s health minister said.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant told said the man, who lives in south-west Sydney, worked only with air crew and did not drive public taxis. He wore a mask while working.

But Health Minister Brad Hazzard said a stronger regime for international air crew members might be required to eliminate future risk.

That might involve requiring air crew to go into full hotel quarantine until they leave Australia.

The Victorian government is also reconsidering quarantine procedures for flight crews arriving in there.

Flight staff are currently required to quarantine in private hotels that are deemed COVID-safe.

A spokesperson for the Victorian government said it was speaking with federal and other state authorities about mandating different procedures.

A statement to the Sydney Morning Herald read: “Following this latest case in Sydney we’ll continue our advocacy but we need a bipartisan approach and will continue to raise this issue with the Commonwealth and at national cabinet, as well as advocating for pre-flight testing for anyone entering Australia.”

Mr Hazzard said NSW might act unilaterally if the national cabinet cannot agree.

“Our inclination is to say to international air crews and airlines … crews coming in to NSW will most likely be required to quarantine in the same way as other international visitors,” he said.

At least 2000 international air crew members touch down in Sydney each week. They remain for up to 72 hours before flying out again.

The COVID-positive case’s employer, Sydney Ground Transport in Alexandria, has ceased operations while contact tracing takes place.

The company’s staff are being tested for COVID-19.

Three people in the man’s household tested negative to COVID-19 on Wednesday but will self-isolate for 14 days.

In relation to the man’s case, NSW Health has also issued for an alert for a children’s football training session conducted by Forest Rangers FC in Peakhurst on afternoon December 11.

-with AAP