Byron Bay tourists locked down as backpacker tests positive for Covid

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·News Reporter
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There are fears a Covid-19 detection at a backpackers in Byron Bay could trigger a lockdown for the area. 

The Aquarius Backpackers in the Northern Rivers tourist hotspot has entered a snap, seven-day lockdown after a positive case was detected, with more than 80 guests now unable to leave.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith said there was particular concern due to the surge in visitors to the town for Schoolies.

"The real concern is the contacts of 85 people and how many people they've seen," she told the ABC.

"If that starts to spread out, then that's very concerning for our little community if we go into a bigger lockdown because everyone's starting to get back on their feet."

The backpackers has entered a week-long lockdown. Source: Hotels.com
The backpackers has entered a week-long lockdown. Source: Hotels.com

The vaccination rate in the northern end of NSW has been highly-publicised as it lags in comparison to Sydney and other areas in the state.

The 80.9 per cent of residents aged 16 and above with two vaccine doses is significantly lower than the state average of 92 per cent.

Ms Smith, who has previously said vaccine supply was the main reason inoculation rates were lagging, said it would be "pretty catastrophic" if the virus was to spread further in the community.

Sydneysiders have been allowed to return to Byron this month. Source: Getty
Sydneysiders have been allowed to return to Byron this month. Source: Getty

Taking to Facebook to discuss the situation, Ms Smith said she understands all residents in the backpackers are being supported in terms of food, health and support. 

The accomodation, which is located in Byron's town centre, is being guarded by police. 

All the residents are fully vaccinated, Ms Smith understands.

"My thoughts are with everyone in that situation as it will be a tough time," she said.

The Byron Shire local government area was last in lockdown in September after a Sydney resident brought the virus to the town. 

Greater Sydney residents were allowed to visit the rest of the state from November 1.

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