News Coronavirus Chief Medical Officer warns of fresh infections, despite welcome NSW case figures

Chief Medical Officer warns of fresh infections, despite welcome NSW case figures

Sydney virus
NSW has recorded 173 COVID-19 cases and two more deaths in the latest reporting period. Photo: Getty
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Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says Sydney could expect to “see some more cases” in its COVID outbreak, despite no new community infections being reported Friday.

New South Wales Health earlier revealed that the state had recorded no new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, from more than 13,300 tests.

There were, however, five new cases detected in hotel quarantine.

Speaking after Friday’s national cabinet meeting, Professor Kelly said while he was unaware of a potential new community case in the Sydney suburb of Manly, he would not be surprised if the outbreak spread.

“There was no new cases when the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee) met just a few minutes ago. But they are continuing to do a lot of testing and people are coming forward to be tested which is fantastic,” he said.

“And the more we see, the chances are we may see some more cases and we certainly need to … work out that chain for the person we know arrived on 24th April,” he said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian earlier said she remains worried by the link between the two Sydney community infections and an ill international traveller.

An eastern suburbs resident and his wife, both in their 50s, remain the state’s only community cases.

Their infections have been genomically linked to a traveller from the US in hotel quarantine.

The couple was staying at the Park Royal, where they tested positive to the virus and were moved to special health accommodation.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said it was not known how the virus was transmitted and there may still be a missing link to be discovered.

“We can’t find any direct link between our case, so what we’re concerned about is that there is another person that is as yet unidentified that infected our case,” Dr Chant said.

Restrictions kick in

Despite the welcome infection figures, Sydneysiders were again wearing masks on public transport, in supermarkets and during ride-share trips Friday.

Restrictions for Greater Sydney were reimposed on Wednesday, including mandatory masks in indoor settings, a 20-person cap on indoor gatherings, and a ban on singing.

A health alert was issued on Thursday evening for Haymarket restaurant XOPP. Diners present between 1.30pm and 2.30pm last Wednesday must be tested and self-isolate until they’re negative.

A number of venues have been listed as sites where fellow attendees are regarded as close contacts who must isolate for 14 days.

The latest list of areas of concern include the exclusive Royal Sydney Golf Club, a CBD optometrist, and other venues in Paddington, Rushcutters Bay, Moore Park and Collaroy.

Health authorities say they are concerned about the lack of QR check-ins at this time.

Lack of compliance

NSW Health said check-in compliance was not satisfactory and anyone who was there at this time must get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

“This highlights the need for everyone in NSW to check in and out of every venue you visit, as this allows NSW Health to complete rapid contact tracing when required,” a spokesperson said.

Other places – including a number of barbecue shops throughout Sydney – are lower-risk, with fellow visitors asked to isolate until they receive a negative result.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday said she was “pleased” with the current state of the outbreak.

-with AAP