A security guard at a Sydney quarantine hotel has tested positive to coronavirus, prompting health authorites to quell fears about a Victorian-style breach of the program.
Genome sequencing has linked the guard's infection to a returned traveller who was in quarantine at the Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay and tested positive on August 2.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant says the guard worked at Sydney's Flemington Markets, Parramatta Local Court and Bankstown Central while infectious.
The guard also worked at the Marriott on August 3, 4, 7 and 8 but was not infectious at the time and developed symptoms on August 11.
"The exact nature of how that infection could have been acquired is a matter that's under intense investigation," Dr Chant said on Tuesday.
It comes as the inquiry into Victoria's bungled hotel quarantine program heard 99 per cent of the state's current COVID-19 cases can be traced back to the Rydges or Stamford hotels, used in Melbourne’s quarantine program.
Dr Chant said the strain identified in the guard is different to the Crossroads Hotel cluster and other outbreaks in Sydney that are linked to Melbourne.
“We haven't had evidence to date of other cases but, let me tell you we're not going to leave any rock unturned in terms of our search for confirming there are no further cases linked to (this) single case.
“I think it's important that we keep a perspective on this,” she told reporters this afternoon.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Leanne McCusker said the quarantine program had accommodated 47,000 returned travellers since March 29 "with no community transmissions".
"What has occurred over the last couple of days is no doubt concerning," she said.
All police and security guards at the Marriott have also been tested, with the officers returning negative results. Authorities are waiting on results for half of the security guards.
The immense spread of Melbourne’s outbreak was partly blamed on insecure work as people were unable to miss shifts or take time away from the workforce, despite showing symptoms.
The President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Michele O’neil, said the case of the Sydney guard shows the city is vulnerable to the same issues.
“So this is the same problem which could have been prevented. Workers in insecure work, having to work multiple jobs without paid pandemic leave,” she tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
The Secretary of the ACTU, Sally McManus, echoed the sentiment saying casualised work was the kindling that fuelled Melbourne’s latest outbreak.
“We have been warning about exactly this. Implement paid pandemic leave, stop labour hire at all high risk workplaces and give people full-time shifts so they don't work across multiple sites,” she said.
NSW recorded just three new cases of coronavirus in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, the lowest daily number in more than a month.
Two women breach hotel quarantine in WA
Two women from South Australia who breached quarantine after being refused entry to Western Australia have been taken into custody.
Police say the women, aged 19 and 22, arrived in Perth on a flight from Adelaide on Monday night intending to holiday and visit family.
They were directed to quarantine at the Novotel Hotel in Perth until return flights could be arranged.
It's alleged the women, who had not applied to enter the state, left the hotel early on Tuesday and caught a taxi to a unit block in Coolbellup.
Police attended the units on Tuesday and took the two women into custody.
Acting police commissioner Gary Dreibergs said the pair had not been tested for COVID-19 but the health department had advised they did not pose a significant health risk.
"It's very disappointing. It's a very serious matter," he said.
"We established hotel quarantine to assist our community. It isn't there for detention and when people do breach the quarantine, it really does rock the trust of our organisation."
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