'Very concerned': NSW records new community COVID-19 case

NSW is on high alert after recording a new coronavirus case in the Sydney community.

It is the first case in the community announced since December 2, when a cleaner at two hotel quarantine facilities in Sydney’s Darling Harbour contracted the virus.

The case is a 45-year-old male who began to develop symptoms on Saturday. He was tested on Tuesday and received a positive result this morning.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters he is a shuttle bus driver carrying airline crews from the airport. He works for Sydney Group Transport at Alexandria.

Brad Hazzard confirmed NSW's first local case since December 2. Source: 7News
Brad Hazzard confirmed NSW's first local case since December 2. Source: 7News

“We're very concerned about the possibility of the virus coming in with international air crew,” he said.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said testing of his close contacts is underway. She said further information regarding his movements will be released shortly.

She said his sole working responsibility was to drive crews to and from the airport. He was wearing a mask during shifts.

NSW Health later advised the man’s three household contacts have all tested negative to coronavirus.

Mr Hazzard stressed the importance of the community seeking testing in the coming days.

“We don’t want Covid as a Christmas gift for our community so make sure you do get tested,” he said.

The state had gone 26 days without a case prior to the cleaner’s infection reported on December 2, which was officially recorded in December 3’s reporting period.

PM Adern says Australia needs to work through what exactly a hotspot is and how it will be contained before travel can recommence. Source: AAP
The infected worker transported air crew from Sydney Airport. Source: AAP

NSW to look at tightening air crew restrictions

Mr Hazzard said the state government would now explore the possibility of quarantining crews when they arrive in Australia until they leave.

He admitted while crews are placed in hotels, they aren’t subject to the same restrictions as return travellers are.

He labelled the quarantining of air crew a “very complex” situation.

“We may be an island but we are not totally isolated from the pandemic that is raging across the world."

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