'Be alert': Fears of new Covid cluster in busy Sydney suburb

Ash Cant
·4-min read

NSW confirmed nine new Covid cases on Thursday as concerns emerged about a potential new cluster in Sydney’s CBD with authorities investigating two infections there.

Seven of the new cases are linked to Sydney’s Northern Beaches cluster, taking the total number of cases there to 104.

One of the two cases under investigation is from the area and may have been an older infection.

Dr Kerry Chant said that confirmed case was a man in his 20s and despite there being a chance it may be an older infection, authorities are taking “precautionary action”.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian arrives to provide a COVID-19 update at a press conference at St Leonards, Sydney, Thursday, December 24, 2020.
NSW Health authorities are investigating two Covid cases reported on Thursday. Source: AAP

“We are forensically looking at that and taking that public health action as if he is positive and infectious now and looking at whether he had any potential to transmit it to anyone,” she said on Thursday.

New Covid cases mount in Sydney’s CBD

The second case under investigation is a man aged in his 40s who works in Sydney’s CBD.

“This is the third case in an office worker in that part of the CBD,” Dr Chant said.

“Anyone who has been in the north eastern part of the city, including the Australia square, the MLC Centre and Chifley Square should be alert for symptoms and isolate immediately and get tested should even the mildest symptoms develop.”

One of the new cases pending an investigation visited the Paragon Hotel Sports Bar near Circular Quay in Loftus Street.

The confirmed case was at the sports bar on December 16 between 12.45pm and 3.30pm.

On Thursday morning, a second person who visited the Paragon Hotel Sports Bar at the same time as the first case has been confirmed to have Covid-19 - this will be reflected in tomorrow’s numbers.

“Patrons who were in the Sports Bar from 12.45pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday, December 16 for more than one hour are considered a close contact and must get tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days regardless of their results,” NSW Health warned.

These new cases mark three confirmed cases associated with the bar, which was previously included in a NSW Health alert on December 21.

Cases linked to the Paragon Hotel have not been linked to the Northern Beaches cluster.

Premier urges everyone in NSW to be ‘on guard’ over Christmas

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged everyone to be "on guard" over Christmas, cautioning that NSW is not yet out of the woods.

A confirmed Covid cases which is under investigation works in Sydney's CBD. Source: Google Maps
A confirmed Covid case which is under investigation works in Sydney's CBD in the vicinity of Hunter and Bligh Streets. Source: Google Maps

Ms Berejiklian said she was proud of the record number of people coming forward for testing - with over 60,000 tests completed in the previous 24 hours.

Everyone should limit their movements and the number of people they see over the next few days, try to celebrate outdoors and consider postponing events until the new year, the premier and Dr Chant warned.

Those experiencing even mild symptoms in the next few days should get tested at one of the 300 clinics operating across the state and should isolate, Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Thursday.

"Do not wait until the 27th because if people wait you could be unintentionally infecting people and ruining Christmas for those closest to you," she said.

South Australia records ‘weak’ Covid case

South Australia has recorded two new coronavirus cases including a young man who returned a "weak positive" result after travelling into the state from NSW.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the man in his 20s was aboard a flight from Darwin to Sydney on December 18 that contained an infectious person.

But she said the man was not seated near the person and the positive result was likely due to an old non-infectious case.

"It's my understanding it is likely to be an old infection therefore nobody in South Australia is at any risk," Professor Spurrier said.

Prof Spurrier said the health department was working to confirm further details and she was awaiting verification of his result.

The man travelled from Sydney to Wodonga, spending some time in rural Victoria, and drove to Maitland on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula on Monday.

He is in quarantine along with five close contacts as a precaution.

Prof Spurrier said the man was in Victoria at the height of their outbreak but never showed symptoms.

The second case is a man in his 70s who is in a medi-hotel after returning to SA from Doha on December 18.

With AAP

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